Royal Society Publishing

Clone mixtures and a pacemaker: new facets of Red-Queen theory and ecology

A. Sasaki, W. D. Hamilton, F. Ubeda


Host–parasite antagonistic interaction has been proposed as a potential agent to promote genetic polymorphism and to favour sex against asex, despite its twofold cost in reproduction. However, the host–parasite gene–for–gene dynamics often produce unstable cycles that tend to destroy genetic diversity. Here, we examine such diversity destroying coevolutionary dynamics of host and parasite, which is coupled through local or global migration, or both, between demes in a metapopulation structure. We show that, with global migration in the island model, peculiar out–of–phase islands spontaneously arise in the cluster of islands converging to a global synchrony. Such asynchrony induced by the‘pacemaker island’ serves to restore genetic variation. With increasing fraction of local migration, spots of asynchrony are converted into loci or foci of spiral and target patterns, whose rotating arms then cover the majority of demes. A multi–locus analogue of the model reproduces the same tendency toward asynchrony, and the condition arises for an advantage of asexual clones over their sexual counterpart when enough genetic diversity is maintained through metapopulation storage—migration serves as a cheap alternative to sex.

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