Feller’s Contributions to Mathematical Biology

Feller’s Contributions to Mathematical Biology

Ellen Baake, Anton Wakolbinger
(Submitted on 21 Jan 2015)

This is a review of William Feller’s important contributions to mathematical biology. The seminal paper [Feller1951] “Diffusion processes in genetics” was particularly influential on the development of stochastic processes at the interface to evolutionary biology, and interesting ideas in this direction (including a first characterization of what is nowadays known as “Feller’s branching diffusion”) already shaped up in the paper [Feller 1939] (written in German) “The foundations of a probabistic treatment of Volterra’s theory of the struggle for life”. Feller’s article “On fitness and the cost of natural selection” [Feller 1967] contains a critical analysis of the concept of “genetic load”.

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