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      The distribution of fitness effects caused by single-nucleotide substitutions in an RNA virus

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      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

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          Abstract

          Little is known about the mutational fitness effects associated with single-nucleotide substitutions on RNA viral genomes. Here, we used site-directed mutagenesis to create 91 single mutant clones of vesicular stomatitis virus derived from a common ancestral cDNA and performed competition experiments to measure the relative fitness of each mutant. The distribution of nonlethal deleterious effects was highly skewed and had a long, flat tail. As expected, fitness effects depended on whether mutations were chosen at random or reproduced previously described ones. The effect of random deleterious mutations was well described by a log-normal distribution, with -19% reduction of average fitness; the effects distribution of preobserved deleterious mutations was better explained by a beta model. The fit of both models was improved when combined with a uniform distribution. Up to 40% of random mutations were lethal. The proportion of beneficial mutations was unexpectedly high. Beneficial effects followed a gamma distribution, with expected fitness increases of 1% for random mutations and 5% for preobserved mutations.

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          Understanding quantitative genetic variation.

          Until recently, it was impracticable to identify the genes that are responsible for variation in continuous traits, or to directly observe the effects of their different alleles. Now, the abundance of genetic markers has made it possible to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL)--the regions of a chromosome or, ideally, individual sequence variants that are responsible for trait variation. What kind of QTL do we expect to find and what can our observations of QTL tell us about how organisms evolve? The key to understanding the evolutionary significance of QTL is to understand the nature of inherited variation, not in the immediate mechanistic sense of how genes influence phenotype, but, rather, to know what evolutionary forces maintain genetic variability.
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            Evolutionary quantitative genetics: how little do we know?

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              Clonal interference and the evolution of RNA viruses.

              In asexual populations, beneficial mutations that occur in different lineages compete with one another. This phenomenon, known as clonal interference, ensures that those beneficial mutations that do achieve fixation are of large effect. Clonal interference also increases the time between fixations, thereby slowing the adaptation of asexual populations. The effects of clonal interference were measured in the asexual RNA virus vesicular stomatitis virus; rates and average effects of beneficial mutations were quantified.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                0027-8424
                1091-6490
                June 01 2004
                June 01 2004
                May 24 2004
                June 01 2004
                : 101
                : 22
                : 8396-8401
                Article
                10.1073/pnas.0400146101
                420405
                15159545
                b21c26d5-65a6-4bdb-b60d-9bf9ec6babf4
                © 2004
                History

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