Deleterious mutations and the evolution of sex

Keightley, Peter D and Eyre-Walker, Adam (2000) Deleterious mutations and the evolution of sex. Science, 290. pp. 331-333. ISSN 0036-8075

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It has been suggested that sexual reproduction is maintained because it reduces the load imposed by recurrent deleterious mutations. If rates of deleterious mutation per diploid genome per generation (U) exceed 1, and mutations interact synergistically, then sexuals can overcome their inherent twofold disadvantage. We have tested this hypothesis by estimating genomic point mutation rates for protein-coding genes in a range of animal taxa. We find a positive linear relationship between U and generation time. In species with short generation times, U is predicted to be far below 1, suggesting that sex is not maintained by its capacity to purge the genome of deleterious mutations.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The first evidence against one of the leading theories for the evolution of sex.
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
Depositing User: Adam Eyre-Walker
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 18:39
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2012 12:15
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