Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 507346
Title Diminishing-returns epistasis among random beneficial mutations in a multicellular fungus
Author(s) Schoustra, Sijmen; Hwang, Sungmin; Krug, Joachim; Visser, Arjan de
Source Proceedings of the Royal Society. B: Biological Sciences 283 (2016)1837. - ISSN 0962-8452 - 9 p.
Department(s) Laboratory of Genetics
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2016
Keyword(s) Adaptation - Aspergillus nidulans - Beneficial mutation - Epistasis - Fisher’s geometric model

Adaptive evolution ultimately is fuelled by mutations generating novel genetic variation. Non-additivity of fitness effects of mutations (called epistasis) may affect the dynamics and repeatability of adaptation. However, understanding the importance and implications of epistasis is hampered by the observation of substantial variation in patterns of epistasis across empirical studies. Interestingly, some recent studies report increasingly smaller benefits of beneficial mutations once genotypes become better adapted (called diminishing-returns epistasis) in unicellular microbes and single genes. Here, we use Fisher’s geometric model (FGM) to generate analytical predictions about the relationship between the effect size of mutations and the extent of epistasis. We then test these predictions using the multicellular fungus Aspergillus nidulans by generating a collection of 108 strains in either a poor or a rich nutrient environment that each carry a beneficial mutation and constructing pairwise combinations using sexual crosses. Our results support the predictions from FGM and indicate negative epistasis among beneficial mutations in both environments, which scale with mutational effect size. Hence, our findings show the importance of diminishing-returns epistasis among beneficial mutations also for a multicellular organism, and suggest that this pattern reflects a generic constraint operating at diverse levels of biological organization.

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