Natural selection maximizes Fisher information


Steven A. Frank, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697-2525, USA.
Tel.: +1-949-824-2244; fax: +1-949-824-2181; e-mail:


In biology, information flows from the environment to the genome by the process of natural selection. However, it has not been clear precisely what sort of information metric properly describes natural selection. Here, I show that Fisher information arises as the intrinsic metric of natural selection and evolutionary dynamics. Maximizing the amount of Fisher information about the environment captured by the population leads to Fisher's fundamental theorem of natural selection, the most profound statement about how natural selection influences evolutionary dynamics. I also show a relation between Fisher information and Shannon information (entropy) that may help to unify the correspondence between information and dynamics. Finally, I discuss possible connections between the fundamental role of Fisher information in statistics, biology and other fields of science.