Issue 12, 2014

Evolutionary game theory: molecules as players


In this and an accompanying paper we review the use of game theoretical concepts in cell biology and molecular biology. This review focuses on the subcellular level by considering viruses, genes, and molecules as players. We discuss in which way catalytic RNA can be treated by game theory. Moreover, genes can compete for success in replication and can have different strategies in interactions with other genetic elements. Also transposable elements, or “jumping genes”, can act as players because they usually bear different traits or strategies. Viruses compete in the case of co-infecting a host cell. Proteins interact in a game theoretical sense when forming heterodimers. Finally, we describe how the Shapley value can be applied to enzymes in metabolic pathways. We show that game theory can be successfully applied to describe and analyse scenarios at the molecular level resulting in counterintuitive conclusions.

Graphical abstract: Evolutionary game theory: molecules as players

Article information

Article type
Review Article
20 Dec 2013
07 Aug 2014
First published
07 Aug 2014
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Mol. BioSyst., 2014,10, 3066-3074

Author version available

Evolutionary game theory: molecules as players

K. Bohl, S. Hummert, S. Werner, D. Basanta, A. Deutsch, S. Schuster, G. Theißen and A. Schroeter, Mol. BioSyst., 2014, 10, 3066 DOI: 10.1039/C3MB70601J

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