Population dynamics model and analysis for bacteria transformation and conjugation

Publication Date

Fall 9-23-2020


We present a two-species population model in a well-mixed environment where the dynamics involves, in addition to birth and death, changes due to environmental factors and inter-species interactions. The novel dynamical components are motivated by two common mechanisms for developing antibiotic resistance in bacteria: plasmid transformation, where external genetic material in the form of a plasmid is transferred inside a host cell; and conjugation by which one cell transfers genetic material to another by direct cell-to-cell contact. Through analytical and numerical methods, we identify the effects of transformation and conjugation individually. With transformation only, the two-species system will evolve towards one species' extinction, or a stable co-existence in the long-time limit. With conjugation only, we discover interesting oscillations for the system. Further, we quantify the combined effects of transformation and conjugation, and chart the regimes of stable co-existence, a result with ecological implications.


J. Phys. Commun.