Jul 23, 2015

Synonymous Genetic Variation in Natural Isolates of Escherichia coli Does Not Predict Where Synonymous Substitutions Occur in a Long-Term Experiment

Molecular Biology and Evolution
Rohan MaddamsettiRichard E Lenski

Abstract

Synonymous genetic differences vary by more than 20-fold among genes in natural isolates of Escherichia coli. One hypothesis to explain this heterogeneity is that genes with high levels of synonymous variation mutate at higher rates than genes with low synonymous variation. If so, then one would expect to observe similar mutational patterns in evolution experiments. In fact, however, the pattern of synonymous substitutions in a long-term evolution experiment with E. coli does not support this hypothesis. In particular, the extent of synonymous variation across genes in that experiment does not reflect the variation observed in natural isolates of E. coli. Instead, gene length alone predicts with high accuracy the prevalence of synonymous changes in the experimental populations. We hypothesize that patterns of synonymous variation in natural E. coli populations are instead caused by differences across genomic regions in their effective population size that, in turn, reflect different histories of recombination, horizontal gene transfer, selection, and population structure.

Mentioned in this Paper

Patterns
Alkalescens-Dispar Group
Genome
Genes
Recombination, Genetic
Etiology
Phylogeny
Gene Transfer, Horizontal
Genomics
Isolate - Microorganism

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