Investigating evolutionary rate variation in bacteria

Gibson, Beth and Eyre-Walker, Adam (2019) Investigating evolutionary rate variation in bacteria. Journal of Molecular Evolution. ISSN 0022-2844

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Rates of molecular evolution are known to vary between species and across all kingdoms of life. Here, we explore variation in the rate at which bacteria accumulate mutations (accumulation rates) in their natural environments over short periods of time. We have compiled estimates of the accumulation rate for over 34 species of bacteria, the majority of which are pathogens evolving either within an individual host or during outbreaks. Across species, we find that accumulation rates vary by over 3700-fold. We investigate whether accumulation rates are associated to a number potential correlates including genome size, GC content, measures of the natural selection and the time frame over which the accumulation rates were estimated. After controlling for phylogenetic non-independence, we find that the accumulation rate is not significantly correlated to any factor. Furthermore, contrary to previous results, we find that it is not impacted by the time frame of which the estimate was made. However, our study, with only 34 species, is likely to lack power to detect anything but large effects. We suggest that much of the rate variation may be explained by differences between species in the generation time in the wild.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH0301 Biology > QH0426 Genetics
Depositing User: Adam Eyre-Walker
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2019 17:39
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2019 07:02

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