Kinetic theory of age-structured stochastic birth-death processes

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Classical age-structured mass-action models such as the McKendrick-von Foerster equation have been extensively studied but are unable to describe stochastic fluctuations or population-size-dependent birth and death rates. Stochastic theories that treat semi-Markov age-dependent processes using, e.g., the Bellman-Harris equation do not resolve a population's age structure and are unable to quantify population-size dependencies. Conversely, current theories that include size-dependent population dynamics (e.g., mathematical models that include carrying capacity such as the logistic equation) cannot be easily extended to take into account age-dependent birth and death rates. In this paper, we present a systematic derivation of a new, fully stochastic kinetic theory for interacting age-structured populations. By defining multiparticle probability density functions, we derive a hierarchy of kinetic equations for the stochastic evolution of an aging population undergoing birth and death. We show that the fully stochastic age-dependent birth-death process precludes factorization of the corresponding probability densities, which then must be solved by using a Bogoliubov-–Born–-Green–-Kirkwood-–Yvon-like hierarchy. Explicit solutions are derived in three limits: no birth, no death, and steady state. These are then compared with their corresponding mean-field results. Our results generalize both deterministic models and existing master equation approaches by providing an intuitive and efficient way to simultaneously model age- and population-dependent stochastic dynamics applicable to the study of demography, stem cell dynamics, and disease evolution.
Original languageEnglish
Article number012112
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2016

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