Behavior of different numerical schemes for random genetic drift

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In the problem of random genetic drift, the probability density of one gene is governed by a degenerated convection-dominated diffusion equation. Dirac singularities will always be developed at boundary points as time evolves, which is known as the fixation phenomenon in genetic evolution. Three finite volume methods: FVM1-3, one central difference method: FDM1 and three finite element methods: FEM1-3 are considered. These methods lead to different equilibrium states after a long time. It is shown that only schemes FVM3 and FEM3, which are the same, preserve probability, expectation and positiveness and predict the correct probability of fixation. FVM1-2 wrongly predict the probability of fixation due to their intrinsic viscosity, even though they are unconditionally stable. Contrarily, FDM1 and FEM1-2 introduce different anti-diffusion terms, which make them unstable and fail to preserve positiveness.





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Xu, S, M Chen, C Liu, R Zhang and X Yue (2019). Behavior of different numerical schemes for random genetic drift. BIT Numerical Mathematics, 59(3). pp. 797–821. 10.1007/s10543-019-00749-4 Retrieved from

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Shixin Xu

Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Duke Kunshan University

Shixin Xu is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics.   His research interests are machine learning and data-driven models for diseases,  multiscale modeling of complex fluids, Neurovascular coupling, homogenization theory, and numerical analysis.  The current projects he is working on are

  • image data-based for the prediction of hemorrhagic transformation in acute ischemic stroke,
  • electrodynamics modeling of saltatory conduction along a myelinated axon
  • electrochemical modeling
  • fluid-structure interaction with mass transportation and reaction

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