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Evolution and Selection of Quantitative Traits$
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Bruce Walsh and Michael Lynch

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198830870

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198830870.001.0001

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Interaction of Selection, Mutation, and Drift

Interaction of Selection, Mutation, and Drift

(p.175) 7 Interaction of Selection, Mutation, and Drift
Evolution and Selection of Quantitative Traits

Bruce Walsh

Michael Lynch

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the joint impact of selection, mutation, and drift on the allele frequencies at a locus. One key finding is that if the strength of selection is sufficiently weak relative to drift, alleles behave as if they are effectively neutral. Hence, as a population attempts to evolve toward some ideal (optimal) value, the beneficial increment from new mutations eventually becomes sufficiently weak (relative to drift) they are efficiently neutral, implying that perfect adaptation is never possible. This is the notion of the drift barrier. Another key ideal is Haldane's principle: the decline in mean population fitness generated by deleterious mutations is largely independent of their selective effects, but instead is simply a function of their mutation rate.

Keywords:   compensatory mutations, diffusion theory, diminishing-returns epistasis, drift, drift barrier, effectively neutrality, Haldane's principle, Hill-Robertson effect, mutation, mutational load, mutational meltdown, selection, stationary distributions, stochastic tunneling, synergistic epistasis

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