Emergence of asymmetry in evolution

P. L. Várkonyi, G. Meszéna, G. Domokos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate symmetry-breaking bifurcation patterns in evolution in the framework of adaptive dynamics (AD). We define weak and strong symmetry. The former applies for populations where only the simultaneous reflection of all individuals is an invariant transformation. The symmetry is strong in populations where reflection of some, but not all, individuals leaves the situation unchanged. We show that in case of weak symmetry evolutionary branching can lead to the emergence of two asymmetric variants, which are mirror images of each other, and the loss of the symmetric ancestor. We also show that in case of strong symmetry, evolutionary branching can occur into a symmetric and an asymmetric variant, both of which survive. The latter, asymmetric branching differs from the generic branching patterns of AD, which is always symmetric. We discuss biological examples for weak and strong symmetries and a specific model producing the new kind of branching.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-75
Number of pages13
JournalTheoretical Population Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2006


  • Adaptive dynamics
  • Bilateral symmetry
  • Evolutionary branching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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