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Genetics. Oct 1972; 72(2): 335–355.
PMCID: PMC1212831

Mutation Rate and Dominance of Genes Affecting Viability in DROSOPHILA MELANOGASTER


Spontaneous mutations were allowed to accumulate in a second chromosome that was transmitted only through heterozygous males for 40 generations. At 10-generation intervals the chromosomes were assayed for homozygous effects of the accumulated mutants. From the regression of homozygous viability on the number of generations of mutant accumulation and from the increase in genetic variance between replicate chromosomes it is possible to estimate the mutation rate and average effect of the individual mutants. Lethal mutations arose at a rate of 0.0060 per chromosome per generation. The mutants having small effects on viability are estimated to arise with a frequency at least 10 times as high as lethals, more likely 20 times as high, and possibly many more times as high if there is a large class of very nearly neutral mutations.—The dominance of such mutants was measured for chromosomes extracted from a natural population. This was determined from the regression of heterozygous viability on that of the sum of the two constituent homozygotes. The average dominance for minor viability genes in an equilibrium population was estimated to be 0.21. This is lower than the value for new mutants, as expected since those with the greatest heterozygous effect are most quickly eliminated from the population. That these mutants have a disproportionately large heterozygous effect on total fitness (as well as on the viability component thereof) is shown by the low ratio of the genetic load in equilibrium homozygotes to that of new mutant homozygotes.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
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