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This paper considers several models for biological processes in which animate individuals live and die as members of groups which can split to form smaller groups. Resulting distributions of individuals over groups are compared and contrasted. In particular, two qualitatively different types of distributions are identified. It is clear that distinguishing between models giving rise to the same distribution types is difficult. Implications for more complex models are discussed and avenues for further research are outlined.
The linear birth-and-death process is elaborated to allow the elements of the process to live as members of linear clusters which have the possibility of breaking up. For the supercritical case, expressions, based on an approximation, are derived for the mean numbers of clusters of the various sizes as time → ∞. These expressions compare very well with exact solutions obtained by the method of Runge-Kutta. Exact solutions for the mean values for all time are given for when the death rate is zero.
Several simple stochastic models are given for a finite closed system of individuals existing in clusters which may come together to form larger clusters which may in turn split up. Some of these models are analysed and compared in equilibrium. Several of the models fit into a general framework established and investigated by Whittle (1965a); it is shown that these models have an equilibrium solution of a particularly simple form, deduced by Whittle, if and only if the models are stochastically reversible. A normal approximation to two of the models in equilibrium is found to give the same mean value as a deterministic approximation.
A detailed probabilistic treatment is given of a birth-and-death process proposed by Williams (1969) in which the elements of the process bear up to s inanimate marks. Equations for the second-order moments of the process, and approximate marginal univariate solutions, are derived. The exact bivariate solution is given for the case s = 1. For general s the variance of the mark population is also derived.
(1.1) In this paper, acquaintance will be assumed with the basic mechanics of phage/bacterium, antibody/virus interactions; for background reading see, for example, Adams (1959), Bouanchaud (1970), Durham and King (1969) and Fraser (1967).
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