Rates and genomic consequences of spontaneous mutational events in Drosophila melanogaster

Daniel R. Schrider, David Houle, Michael Lynch, Matthew W. Hahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

144 Scopus citations


Because spontaneous mutation is the source of all genetic diversity, measuring mutation rates can reveal how natural selection drives patterns of variation within and between species. We sequenced eight genomes produced by a mutation-accumulation experiment in Drosophila melanogaster. Our analysis reveals that point mutation and small indel rates vary significantly between the two different genetic backgrounds examined. We also find evidence that {replacement character}2% of mutational events affect multiple closely spaced nucleotides. Unlike previous similar experiments, we were able to estimate genome-wide rates of large deletions and tandem duplications. These results suggest that, at least in inbred lines like those examined here, mutational pressures may result in net growth rather than contraction of the Drosophila genome. By comparing our mutation rate estimates to polymorphism data, we are able to estimate the fraction of new mutations that are eliminated by purifying selection. These results suggest that {replacement character}99% of duplications and deletions are deleterious-making them 10 times more likely to be removed by selection than nonsynonymous mutations. Our results illuminate not only the rates of new small- and large-scale mutations, but also the selective forces that they encounter once they arise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)937-954
Number of pages18
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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