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We tested the ability of six quantitative genetic models to explain the evolution of phenotypic means using an extensive database compiled by Gingerich. Our approach differs from past efforts in that we use explicit models of evolutionary process, with parameters estimated from contemporary populations, to analyze a large sample of divergence data on many(More)
The consequences of mutation for population-genetic and evolutionary processes depend on the rate and, especially, the frequency distribution of mutational effects on fitness. We sought to approximate the form of the distribution of mutational effects by conducting divergence experiments in which lines of a DNA repair-deficient strain of Caenorhabditis(More)
Homopolymeric nucleotide runs, also called mononucleotide microsatellites, are a ubiquitous, dominant, and mutagenic feature of eukaryotic genomes. A clear understanding of the forces that shape patterns of homopolymer evolution, however, is lacking. We provide a focused investigation of the abundance, chromosomal distribution, and mutation spectra of the(More)
Spontaneous mutations play a fundamental role in the maintenance of genetic variation in natural populations, the nature of inbreeding depression, the evolution of sexual reproduction, and the conservation of endangered species. Using long-term mutation-accumulation lines of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, we estimate the rate and magnitude of(More)
BACKGROUND Mutations that impair mitochondrial functioning are associated with a variety of metabolic and age-related disorders. A barrier to rigorous tests of the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in aging processes has been the lack of model systems with relevant, naturally occurring mitochondrial genetic variation. Toward the goal of developing such a(More)
We have analyzed natural variation in mitochondrial form and function among a set of Caenorhabditis briggsae isolates known to harbor mitochondrial DNA structural variation in the form of a heteroplasmic nad5 gene deletion (nad5Δ) that correlates negatively with organismal fitness. We performed in vivo quantification of 24 mitochondrial phenotypes including(More)
Deleterious mutation accumulation has been implicated in many biological phenomena and as a potentially significant threat to human health and the persistence of small populations. The vast majority of mutations with effects on fitness are known to be deleterious in a given environment, and their accumulation results in mean population fitness decline.(More)
The pattern of mutational covariance among traits plays a central, but largely untested, role in many theories in evolutionary genetics. Here we estimate the pattern of phenotypic, environmental, and mutational correlations for a set of life-history, behavioral, and morphological traits using 67 self-fertilizing lines of Caenorhabditis elegans, each having(More)
Although it is clear that postreplicative DNA mismatch repair (MMR) plays a critical role in maintaining genomic stability in nearly all forms of life surveyed, much remains to be understood about the genome-wide impact of MMR on spontaneous mutation processes and the extent to which MMR-deficient mutation patterns vary among species. We analyzed(More)
Selfish DNA poses a significant challenge to genome stability and organismal fitness in diverse eukaryotic lineages. Although selfish mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has known associations with cytoplasmic male sterility in numerous gynodioecious plant species and is manifested as petite mutants in experimental yeast lab populations, examples of selfish mtDNA in(More)