The evolutionary fate of mutator mutations – genetic variants that raise the genome-wide mutation rate – in asexual populations is often described as being frequency (or number) dependent. Mutators can invade a population by hitchhiking with a sweeping beneficial mutation, but motivated by earlier experiments results, it has been repeatedly suggested that mutators must be sufficiently frequent to produce such a driver mutation before non-mutators do. Here, we use stochastic, agent-based simulations to show that neither the strength nor the sign of selection on mutators depend on their initial frequency, and while the overall probability of hitchhiking increases predictably with frequency, the per-capita probability of fixation remains unchanged.
- Yevgeniy Raynes
- Daniel Weinreich
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Patricia J Wittkopp, University of Michigan, United States
- Received: August 17, 2019
- Accepted: November 5, 2019
- Accepted Manuscript published: November 7, 2019 (version 1)
© 2019, Raynes & Weinreich
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