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Loss of sex and recombination is generally assumed to impede the effectiveness of purifying selection and to result in the accumulation of slightly deleterious mutations. Empirical evidence for this has come from several studies investigating mutational load in a small number of individual genes. However, recent whole transcriptome based studies have yielded inconsistent results, hence questioning the validity of the assumption of mutational meltdown in asexual populations. Here, we study the effectiveness of purifying selection in eight asexual hexapod lineages and their sexual relatives, as present in the 1 K Insect Transcriptome Evolution (1KITE) project, covering eight hexapod groups. We analyse the accumulation of slightly deleterious nonsynonymous and synonymous point mutations in 99 single copy orthologue protein-coding loci shared among the investigated taxa. While accumulation rates of nonsynonymous mutations differed between genes and hexapod groups, we found no effect of reproductive mode on the effectiveness of purifying selection acting at nonsynonymous and synonymous sites. Although the setup of this study does not fully rule out nondetection of subtle effects, our data does not support the established consensus of asexual lineages undergoing 'mutational meltdown'.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Scientific reports
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A sequence of amino acids in a polypeptide or of nucleotides in DNA or RNA that is similar across multiple species. A known set of conserved sequences is represented by a CONSENSUS SEQUENCE. AMINO ACID MOTIFS are often composed of conserved sequences.
Mutation process that restores the wild-type PHENOTYPE in an organism possessing a mutationally altered GENOTYPE. The second "suppressor" mutation may be on a different gene, on the same gene but located at a distance from the site of the primary mutation, or in extrachromosomal genes (EXTRACHROMOSOMAL INHERITANCE).
Concept which describes the incremental effects of MUTATION in living organisms.
A mutation that results in an increase in a gene's activity or in acquiring a new molecular function or a new pattern of gene expression.
Mutagenesis where the mutation is caused by the introduction of foreign DNA sequences into a gene or extragenic sequence. This may occur spontaneously in vivo or be experimentally induced in vivo or in vitro. Proviral DNA insertions into or adjacent to a cellular proto-oncogene can interrupt GENETIC TRANSLATION of the coding sequences or interfere with recognition of regulatory elements and cause unregulated expression of the proto-oncogene resulting in tumor formation.
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