Weitz Group @ Georgia Tech Theoretical Ecology and Quantitative Biology

Explaining mortality rate plateaus

TitleExplaining mortality rate plateaus
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsWeitz JS, Fraser HB
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Date PublishedDEC 18

We propose a stochastic model of aging to explain deviations from exponential growth in mortality rates commonly observed in empirical studies. Mortality rate plateaus are explained as a generic consequence of considering death in terms of first passage times for processes undergoing a random walk with drift. Simulations of populations with age-dependent distributions of viabilities agree with a wide array of experimental results. The influence of cohort size is well accounted for by the stochastic nature of the model.