Understanding cellular growth strategies via optimal control

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Evolutionary prediction and control are increasingly interesting research topics that are expanding to new areas of application. Unravelling and anticipating successful adaptations to different selection pressures becomes crucial when steering rapidly evolving cancer or microbial populations towards a chosen target. Here we introduce and apply a rich theoretical framework of optimal control to understand adaptive use of traits, which in turn allows eco-evolutionarily informed population control. Using adaptive metabolism and microbial experimental evolution as a case study, we show how demographic stochasticity alone can lead to lag time evolution, which appears as an emergent property in our model. We further show that the cycle length used in serial transfer experiments has practical importance as it may cause unintentional selection for specific growth strategies and lag times. Finally, we show how frequency-dependent selection can be incorporated to the state-dependent optimal control framework allowing the modelling of complex eco-evolutionary dynamics. Our study demonstrates the utility of optimal control theory in elucidating organismal adaptations and the intrinsic decision making of cellular communities with high adaptive potential.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue number198
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 1182 Biochemistry, cell and molecular biology

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