Send to

Choose Destination
Biol Lett. 2006 Sep 22;2(3):426-30.

Inferring the distribution of mutational effects on fitness in Drosophila.

Author information

Institute of Evolutionary Biology, School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3JT, UK.


The properties of the distribution of deleterious mutational effects on fitness (DDME) are of fundamental importance for evolutionary genetics. Since it is extremely difficult to determine the nature of this distribution, several methods using various assumptions about the DDME have been developed, for the purpose of parameter estimation. We apply a newly developed method to DNA sequence polymorphism data from two Drosophila species and compare estimates of the parameters of the distribution of the heterozygous fitness effects of amino acid mutations for several different distribution functions. The results exclude normal and gamma distributions, since these predict too few effectively lethal mutations and power-law distributions as a result of predicting too many lethals. Only the lognormal distribution appears to fit both the diversity data and the frequency of lethals. This DDME arises naturally in complex systems when independent factors contribute multiplicatively to an increase in fitness-reducing damage. Several important parameters, such as the fraction of effectively neutral non-synonymous mutations and the harmonic mean of non-neutral selection coefficients, are robust to the form of the DDME. Our results suggest that the majority of non-synonymous mutations in Drosophila are under effective purifying selection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center