Abstract | The Moran process models the spread of genetic mutations through a population. A mutant with relative fitness r is introduced into a population and the system evolves, either reaching fixation (in which every individual is a mutant) or extinction (in which none is). In a widely cited paper (Nature, 2005), Lieberman, Hauert and Nowak generalize the model to populations on the vertices of graphs. They describe a class of graphs (called "superstars"), with a parameter k. Superstars are designed to have an increasing fixation probability as k increases. They state that the probability of fixation tends to 1−r−k as graphs get larger but we show that this claim is untrue as stated. Specifically, for k=5, we show that the true fixation probability (in the limit, as graphs get larger) is at most 1−1/j(r) where j(r)=Θ(r4), contrary to the claimed result. We do believe that the qualitative claim of Lieberman et al.\ --- that the fixation probability of superstars tends to 1 as k increases --- is correct, and that it can probably be proved along the lines of their sketch. We were able to run larger computer simulations than the ones presented in their paper. However, simulations on graphs of around 40,000 vertices do not support their claim. Perhaps these graphs are too small to exhibit the limiting behaviour. |