Evolution of model specific relative growth rate: Its genesis and performance over Fisher's growth rates

Article Type

Research Article

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Journal of Theoretical Biology


Growth curve models play an instrumental role to quantify the growth of biological processes and have immense practical applications across disciplines. In the modelling approach, the absolute growth rate and relative growth rate (RGR) are two most commonly used measures of growth rates. RGR is empirically estimated by Fisher (1921) assuming exponential growth between two consecutive time points and remains invariant under any choice of the underlying growth model. In this article, we propose a new measure of RGR, called modified RGR, which is sensitive to the choice of underlying growth law. The mathematical form of the growth equations are utilized to develop the formula for model dependent growth rates and can be easily computed for commonly used growth models. We compare the efficiency of Fisher's measure of RGR and modified RGR to infer the true growth profile. To achieve this, we develop a goodness of fit testing procedure using Gompertz model as a test bed. The relative efficiency of the two rate measures is compared by generating power curves of the goodness of fit testing procedure. The asymptotic distributions of the associated test statistics are elaborately studied under Gompertz set up. The simulation experiment shows that the proposed formula has better discriminatory power than the existing one in identifying the true profile. The claim is also verified using existing real data set on fish growth. An algorithm for the model selection mechanism is also proposed based on the modified RGR and is generalized for some commonly used other growth models. The proposed methodology may serve as a valuable tool in growth studies in different research areas.

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