Genetics consists of a number of highly integrated and interacting systems. There are systems for keeping down the mutation rate, for organizing recombination, for sex-determination, and so on. All these systems are outcomes of long evolutionary processes. During the last fifty years methods have been developed by which genetic systems can be analyzed according to Darwinian principles. At present most of our interest concerns two questions:
In elementary population genetics the condition for there to be a balance between mutations and selection is well known. We want to extend the standard results by looking at what happens if the newly induced mutations are positive at first but deteriorate over time. Examples of such mutations are spontaneously generated polyploids, asexual clones, biochemical opportunists that slowly deteriorate their own cellular welfare, mutations causing trinucleotide repeat expansion, and so on. The analyses are done analytically and with computer simulations,
An organism that incorporates a new gene that gives it an additional biochemical function normally increases its fitness. However, at the same time its genome has become more prone to mutation and various kinds of damage. We are interested in modelling the evolution of genomes when both their expressive functions and material properties are taken into account.