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The fate of competing beneficial mutations in an asexual population

Abstract

In sexual populations, beneficial mutations that occur in different lineages may be recombined into a single lineage. In asexual populations, however, clones that carry such alternative beneficial mutations compete with one another and, thereby, interfere with the expected progression of a given mutation to fixation. From theoretical exploration of such ‘clonal interference’, we have derived (1) a fixation probability for beneficial mutations, (2) an expected substitution rate, (3) an expected coefficient of selection for realized substitutions, (4) an expected rate of fitness increase, (5) the probability that a beneficial mutation transiently achieves polymorphic frequency (≥ 1%), and (6) the probability that a beneficial mutation transiently achieves majority status. Based on (2) and (3), we were able to estimate the beneficial mutation rate and the distribution of mutational effects from changes in mean fitness in an evolving E. coli population.

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Gerrish, P.J., Lenski, R.E. The fate of competing beneficial mutations in an asexual population. Genetica 102, 127 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1017067816551

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  • asexual population dynamics
  • beneficial mutations
  • fixation probability
  • clonal interference
  • substitution rate