Prof. Dr. Arne Traulsen, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology

Speech at the Herrenhausen Conference "Beyond the Intestinal Microbiome – From Signatures to Therapy", 09.10.2014

Evolutionary game theory provides a powerful way to think about interactions between different phenotypes. This mathematical approach allows us to make very general statements about the stability of communities, and is particularly powerful for analyzing the interplay of competition and cooperation and the emergence of polymorphisms. Can this theory be applied to microbial communities in the gut? A combination of simple models and experimental data shows that some general statements about the dynamics in such communities can be made, but a bottom up approach based on transparent mathematical models requires a different view on the data, and in some cases laborious experiments.

Photo: Mirko Krenzel for Volkswagen Foundation

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