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Genetics. 2001 Jun;158(2):681-93.

The rate of mutation and the homozygous and heterozygous mutational effects for competitive viability: a long-term experiment with Drosophila melanogaster.

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Departamento de Genética, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Complutense, 28040 Madrid, Spain.


The effect of 250 generations of mutation accumulation (MA) on the second chromosome competitive viability of Drosophila melanogaster was analyzed both in homozygous and heterozygous conditions. We used full-sib MA lines, where selection hampers the accumulation of severely deleterious mutations but is ineffective against mildly deleterious ones. A large control population was simultaneously evaluated. Competitive viability scores, unaffected by the expression of mutations in heterozygosis, were obtained relative to a Cy/L(2) genotype. The rate of decline in mean DeltaM approximately 0.1% was small. However, that of increase in variance DeltaV approximately 0.08 x 10(-3) was similar to the values obtained in previous experiments when severely deleterious mutations were excluded. The corresponding estimates of the mutation rate lambda > or = 0.01 and the average effect of mutations E(s) < or = 0.08 are in good agreement with Bateman-Mukai and minimum distance estimates for noncompetitive viability obtained from the same MA lines after 105 generations. Thus, competitive and noncompetitive viability show similar mutational properties. The regression estimate of the degree of dominance for mild-to-moderate deleterious mutations was approximately 0.3, suggesting that the pertinent value for new unselected mutations should be somewhat smaller.

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