1887

Abstract

, it has been shown that mutator alleles that increase mutation rate can be selected for by generating adaptive mutations. and , competition between wild-type bacteria and isogenic mutator mutants is consistent with this view. However, , the gain of the mutator seems to be reduced when migration is allowed. , the advantage of mutators has been described as frequency-dependent, leading to mutator advantage only when they are sufficiently frequent. Using an system, it is demonstrated that (i) the selection of mutators is frequency-independent, yet depends on at least one mutator bacterium bearing an adaptive mutation (its presence depends on chance, mutation rates and population size of mutator bacteria); (ii) on average, the mutator gain is always equal to the ratio of the adaptive mutation frequency of the mutator versus wild-type; (iii) when migration into an empty niche is allowed, the mutator benefit is reduced if migration occurs after fixation of the adaptive mutation into the wild-type population. It is concluded that in all cases, mutator gain depends directly on the ratio of bacteria carrying a beneficial mutation in mutator versus wild-type lineages.

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2006-01-01
2019-10-21
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