K. Parvinen and U. Dieckmann (2013)
Self-extinction through optimizing selection
Journal of Theoretical Biology 333, 1-9
Available online


Evolutionary suicide is a process in which selection drives a viable population to extinction. So far, such selection-driven self-extinction has been demonstrated in models with frequency-dependent selection. This is not surprising, since frequency-dependent selection can disconnect individual-level and population-level interests through environmental feedback. Hence it can lead to situations akin to the tragedy of the commons, with adaptations that serve the selfish interests of individuals ultimately ruining a population. For frequency-dependent selection to play such a role, it must not be optimizing. Together, all published studies of evolutionary suicide have created the impression that evolutionary suicide is not possible with optimizing selection. Here we disprove this misconception by presenting and analyzing an example in which optimizing selection causes self-extinction. We then take this line of argument one step further by showing, in a further example, that selection-driven self-extinction can occur even under frequency-independent selection.

Back to all articles

Main page | Research | Pictures

Kotisivu suomeksi