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Genetics. Oct 2001; 159(2): 441–452.
PMCID: PMC1461830

Direct estimate of the mutation rate and the distribution of fitness effects in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Abstract

Estimates of the rate and frequency distribution of deleterious effects were obtained for the first time by direct scoring and characterization of individual mutations. This was achieved by applying tetrad analysis to a large number of yeast clones. The genomic rate of spontaneous mutation deleterious to a basic fitness-related trait, that of growth rate, was U = 1.1 x 10(-3) per diploid cell division. Extrapolated to the fruit fly and humans, the per generation rate would be 0.074 and 0.92, respectively. This is likely to be an underestimate because single mutations with selection coefficients s < 0.01 could not be detected. The distribution of s > or = 0.01 was studied both for spontaneous and induced mutations. The latter were induced by ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS) or resulted from defective mismatch repair. Lethal changes accounted for approximately 30-40% of the scored mutations. The mean s of nonlethal mutations was fairly high, but most frequently its value was between 0.01 and 0.05. Although the rate and distribution of very small effects could not be determined, the joint share of such mutations in decreasing average fitness was probably no larger than approximately 1%.

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Selected References

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