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Theor Popul Biol. 2006 Jun;69(4):409-18. Epub 2006 Mar 10.

The frequency of the perfect genotype in a population subject to pleiotropic mutation.

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  • 1Centre for the Study of Evolution, School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK.


We consider a large population of asexual organisms characterised by a number of quantitative traits that are subject to stabilising selection. Mutation is taken to act pleiotropically, with every mutation generally changing all of the traits under selection. We focus on the equilibrium distribution of the population, where mutation and selection are in balance. It has been previously established that the equilibrium distribution of genotypic effects may be anomalous, as it may contain a singular spike--a Dirac delta function--corresponding to a non-zero proportion of the population having exactly optimal genotypic values. In the present work, we present exact results for the case where three traits are under selection. These results give the equilibrium genetic variance of the population, and the proportion of the population that have the optimal genotype. This is achieved for two different spherically symmetric distributions of mutant effects. Additionally, a simple and robust numerical approach is also presented that allows the treatment of some other mutation distributions, where there are an arbitrary number of selected traits.

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