A Gene Network Model of Resource Allocation to Growth and Reproduction
AbstractWe present a model of optimal allocation of resources to reproduction and growth in a simple multicellular organism with limited lifespan, using a gene network formalism to simulate gene interactions within cells. The model is compatible with more conventional approaches to allocation problems in life history and in addition provides connections between processes at the gene and cell levels on one hand and life history strategies on the other. The model may offer an example of how a genotype orchestrating development imposes constraints on the optimal solutions that evolution can reach. Introduction How an organism uses energy and other resources extracted from the environment to promote its survival and growth, produce offspring or store for future needs is crucial for the organism's fitness. Life-history traits of an organism, that determine when and in what proportions the organism allocates resources during its lifetime, include age and size at first reproduction, number and size..