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Elevated mutation rates are unlikely to evolve in sexual species, not even under rapid environmental change

  • Background Organisms are expected to respond to changing environmental conditions through local adaptation, range shift or local extinction. The process of local adaptation can occur by genetic changes or phenotypic plasticity, and becomes especially relevant when dispersal abilities or possibilities are somehow constrained. For genetic changes to occur, mutations are the ultimate source of variation and the mutation rate in terms of a mutator locus can be subject to evolutionary change. Recent findings suggest that the evolution of the mutation rate in a sexual species can advance invasion speed and promote adaptation to novel environmental conditions. Following this idea, this work uses an individual-based model approach to investigate if the mutation rate can also evolve in a sexual species experiencing different conditions of directional climate change, under different scenarios of colored stochastic environmental noise, probability of recombination and of beneficial mutations. The color of the noise mimicked investigating theBackground Organisms are expected to respond to changing environmental conditions through local adaptation, range shift or local extinction. The process of local adaptation can occur by genetic changes or phenotypic plasticity, and becomes especially relevant when dispersal abilities or possibilities are somehow constrained. For genetic changes to occur, mutations are the ultimate source of variation and the mutation rate in terms of a mutator locus can be subject to evolutionary change. Recent findings suggest that the evolution of the mutation rate in a sexual species can advance invasion speed and promote adaptation to novel environmental conditions. Following this idea, this work uses an individual-based model approach to investigate if the mutation rate can also evolve in a sexual species experiencing different conditions of directional climate change, under different scenarios of colored stochastic environmental noise, probability of recombination and of beneficial mutations. The color of the noise mimicked investigating the evolutionary dynamics of the mutation rate in different habitats. Results The results suggest that the mutation rate in a sexual species experiencing directional climate change scenarios can evolve and reach relatively high values mainly under conditions of complete linkage of the mutator locus and the adaptation locus. In contrast, when they are unlinked, the mutation rate can slightly increase only under scenarios where at least 50% of arising mutations are beneficial and the rate of environmental change is relatively fast. This result is robust under different scenarios of stochastic environmental noise, which supports the observation of no systematic variation in the mutation rate among organisms experiencing different habitats. Conclusions Given that 50% beneficial mutations may be an unrealistic assumption, and that recombination is ubiquitous in sexual species, the evolution of an elevated mutation rate in a sexual species experiencing directional climate change might be rather unlikely. Furthermore, when the percentage of beneficial mutations and the population size are small, sexual species (especially multicellular ones) producing few offspring may be expected to react to changing environments not by adaptive genetic change, but mainly through plasticity. Without the ability for a plastic response, such species may become – at least locally – extinct.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Daniel Romero-MujalliORCiD, Florian JeltschORCiDGND, Ralph TiedemannORCiDGND
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/s12862-019-1494-0
ISSN:1471-2148
Parent Title (English):BMC Evolutionary Biology
Publisher:BioMed Central
Place of publication:London
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Date of first Publication:2019/08/28
Year of Completion:2019
Release Date:2019/11/25
Tag:Beneficial mutations; Directional climate change; Individual-based models; Mutation rate; Mutator locus; Recombination; sexual species
Volume:19
Pagenumber:9
Funder:Universität Potsdam
Grant Number:PA 2019_90
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Biochemie und Biologie
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Peer Review:Referiert
Grantor:Publikationsfonds der Universität Potsdam
Publication Way:Open Access
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung, 4.0 International
Notes extern:Zweitveröffentlichung in der Schriftenreihe Postprints der Universität Potsdam : Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Reihe ; 776