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The relative contribution of advantageous and neutral mutations to the evolutionary process is a central problem in evolutionary biology. Current estimates suggest that whereas Drosophila, mice, and bacteria have undergone extensive adaptive evolution, hominids show little or no evidence of adaptive evolution in protein-coding sequences. This may be a consequence of differences in effective population size. To study the matter further, we have investigated whether plants show evidence of adaptive evolution using an extension of the McDonald-Kreitman test that explicitly models slightly deleterious mutations by estimating the distribution of fitness effects of new mutations. We apply this method to data from nine pairs of species. Altogether more than 2,400 loci with an average length of approximately 280 nucleotides were analyzed. We observe very similar results in all species; we find little evidence of adaptive amino acid substitution in any comparison except sunflowers. This may be because many plant species have modest effective population sizes.

Original publication

DOI

10.1093/molbev/msq079

Type

Journal article

Journal

Mol Biol Evol

Publication Date

08/2010

Volume

27

Pages

1822 - 1832

Keywords

Amino Acid Substitution, Animals, Base Sequence, Biological Evolution, Genetic Fitness, Genome, Plant, Mice, Molecular Sequence Data, Mutation, Plants, Population Density, Sequence Analysis, DNA