Acta Biotheoretica 38 (2):83-90 (1990)
A basic model of hierarchical structure, expressed by simple, linear differential equations, shows that the pattern of population growth is essentially determined by conditions of redundancy in the sub-structure of individuals. There does not exist any possible combination between growth rate and accident rate that could balance population numbers and/or the level of redundancy within the population; all possible combinations either lead to extinction or to positive population growth with a decline of the fraction of individuals with redundant substructure. Declining populations, however, can be held fluctuating between certain limits by periodic phases of sub-unit repair. These results are particularly pertinent to the population dynamics of diploid (polyploid) organisms.
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