Evolution: Von der Biologie zur Mathematik und wieder zurück : Die Ergebnisse der Evolutionstheorie sind heute nicht nur Naturbeschreibung, sondern auch mathematisches Werkzeug

Die Evolutionstheorie ist die grundlegende Beschreibung der Entwicklung biologischer Vielfalt. Ihre mathematische Formulierung hat viele Wissenszweige befruchtet und wird immer breiter eingesetzt. Mathematische Modelle der Evolution helfen beispielsweise bei der Entwicklung antiretroviraler Therapien und beim Design von Biomolekülen.
Evolution is both a concept in biology and an abstract optimization principle. In biology, evolution has for the first time rigorously explained how new species emerge from predecessor species. The process is iterative and involves the steps of mutation, selection, and replication of individuals. In the course of the process, species change towards an optimal adaptation to their environment. In this text, two current examples are given of application of evolutionary concepts. First, it is demonstrated how the adaptation of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to its host and to antiviral therapies can be modelled with evolutionary concepts such as the mutagenetic tree, a kind of phylogenetic tree of the viral genome focused on mutations relevant to resistance to antiviral therapies. It is shown how mutagenetic trees and mixtures thereof are used to quantify the longterm effectiveness of therapies in view of the possibility of the virus to develop resistance mutations. The second topic of the text is how virtual evolution in the computer can be used to optimize biomolecules. The concept of multi-objective optimization based on Pareto-dominance as fitness criterion is introduced as it promises to provide solutions to real-world optimization problems with multiple independent fitness requirements.
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