No direct selection to increase offspring number of bet-hedging strategies in large populations: Simons’ model revisited


Éva Kisdi, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, FIN-00014, Finland.
Tel.: +358 9 1915 1489; fax: +358 9 1915 1400;


In mixed or ‘bet-hedging’ strategies, offspring phenotypes are taken randomly from a distribution determined by the genotype and shaped by evolution. Offspring of a single parent represent a finite sample from this distribution, and therefore are subject to variability because of sampling. Contrary to a recent article by A.M. Simons (2007; J. Evol. Biol.20: 813–817), I show that selection does not favour the production of many offspring just to reduce sampling variability when such mixed strategies are used in large populations.