New data suggest that the accumulation of genetic changes is not solely determined by natural selection. A study by University of Chicago researchers contradicts conventional theory by showing that the percentage of mutations accepted in evolution is also strongly swayed by the speed at which new mutations arrive at a gene: the faster the speed of new mutations, the greater the percentage of those mutations accepted.
"We’ve discovered a striking phenomenon that challenges a paradigm of molecular evolution that has been around for several decades," said lead author Bruce Lahn, Ph.D., assistant professor of genetics at the University of Chicago and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. "As such, it may cause a significant shift in the field."
The researchers report their findings in the July 2005, issue of the journal Trends in Genetics, available early online June 7. Other authors are Gerald Wyckoff, Ph.D., previously a postdoctoral fellow in Lahn’s lab and now an assistant professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and Christine Malcom and Eric Vallender, both graduate students in Lahn’s lab.
Catherine Gianaro | EurekAlert!
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