Altruistic aging: The evolutionary dynamics balancing longevity and evolvability

Minette Herrera, Aaron Miller, Joel Nishimura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Altruism is typically associated with traits or behaviors that benefit the population as a whole, but are costly to the individual. We propose that, when the environment is rapidly changing, senescence (age-related deterioration) can be altruistic. According to numerical simulations of an agent-based model, while long-lived individuals can outcompete their short lived peers, populations composed of long-lived individuals are more likely to go extinct during periods of rapid environmental change. Moreover, as in many situations where other cooperative behavior arises, senescence can be stabilized in a structured population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)455-465
Number of pages11
JournalMathematical Biosciences and Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2017


  • Agent-based modeling
  • Cooperation
  • Evolution
  • Senescence
  • Structured populations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Altruistic aging: The evolutionary dynamics balancing longevity and evolvability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this