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Social Evolution and Inclusive Fitness TheoryAn Introduction$
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James A.R. Marshall

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691161563

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691161563.001.0001

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The Price Equation

The Price Equation

(p.34) Chapter Three The Price Equation
Social Evolution and Inclusive Fitness Theory

James A.R. Marshall

Princeton University Press

This chapter considers a general description of natural selection: the Price equation. Developed by George Price in the late 1960s, the Price equation can be applied to the change of any quantity under any selective regime. It is thus not limited to considering simple haploid single-locus traits, unlike the replicator dynamics, and indeed it is not even limited to considering evolutionary selection. The Price equation provides an instantaneous description of selection in action. The simplicity of the equation makes it a useful conceptual tool for understanding selective processes such as natural selection. The chapter first describes the general Price equation before discussing its use to understand genetic selection. It then shows how the Price equation can be used to derive two classical results from population and quantitative genetics: Fisher's “fundamental theorem of natural selection” and the breeder's equation.

Keywords:   natural selection, Price equation, George Price, evolution, genetic selection, population genetics, quantitative genetics

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