A first formal link between the price equation and an optimization program.
The Darwin unification project is pursued. A meta-model encompassing an important class of population genetic models is formed by adding an abstract model of the number of successful gametes to the Price equation under uncertainty. A class of optimization programs are defined to represent the "individual-as-maximizing-agent analogy" in a general way. It is then shown that for each population genetic model there is a corresponding optimization program with which formal links can be established. These links provide a secure logical foundation for the commonplace biological principle that natural selection leads organisms to act as if maximizing their "fitness", provides a definition of "fitness", and clarifies the limitations of that principle. The situations covered do not include frequency dependence or social behaviour, but the approach is capable of extension.