The quasispecies model describes processes related to the origin of life and viral evolutionary dynamics. We discuss how the error catastrophe that reflects the transition from localized to delocalized quasispecies population is affected by catalytic replication of different reaction orders. Specifically, we find that second order mechanisms lead to a discontinuity in the mean fitness of the population at the error threshold. This is in contrast to the behavior of the first order, autocatalytic replication mechanism considered in the standard quasispecies model. This suggests that quasispecies models with higher order replication mechanisms produce discontinuities in the mean fitness, and hence the viable population fraction as well, at the error threshold, while lower order replication mechanisms yield a continuous mean fitness function. We discuss potential implications for understanding replication in the RNA world and in virology.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (all)