Recent studies have suggested that the human germline mutation rate and spectrum evolve rapidly. Variation in generation time has been linked to these changes, though its contribution remains unclear. We develop a framework to characterize temporal changes in polymorphisms within and between populations, while controlling for the effects of natural selection and biased gene conversion. Application to the 1000 Genomes Project dataset reveals multiple independent changes that arose after the split of continental groups, including a previously reported, transient elevation in TCC>TTC mutations in Europeans and novel signals of divergence in C>G and T>A mutation rates among population samples. We also find a significant difference between groups sampled in and outside of Africa, in old T>C polymorphisms that predate the out-of-Africa migration. This surprising signal is driven by TpG>CpG mutations, and stems in part from mis-polarized CpG transitions, which are more likely to undergo recurrent mutations. Finally, by relating the mutation spectrum of polymorphisms to parental age effects on de novo mutations, we show that plausible changes in the generation time cannot explain the patterns observed for different mutation types jointly. Thus, other factors--genetic modifiers or environmental exposures--must have had a non-negligible impact on the human mutation landscape.
All data generated or analyzed during this study were based on publicly available datasets like the 1000 Genomes Project. Source data for Figures 1-4 contain the numerical data used to generate the figures. Source data for figure 1 is available at the following URL: https://doi.org/10.6078/D19B0H. (Note, For private access prior to publication, the dataset is available at the URL: https://datadryad.org/stash/share/JK1BdqPhl6azkQru6gLTi6_dA-6lobKUxzpUM7mW69Y)
- Ziyue Gao
- Ziyue Gao
- Priya Moorjani
- Priya Moorjani
- Molly Przeworski
- Nathan Cramer
- Priya Moorjani
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Philipp W Messer, Cornell University, United States
© 2023, Gao et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Microbial plankton play a central role in marine biogeochemical cycles, but the timing in which abundant lineages diversified into ocean environments remains unclear. Here, we reconstructed the timeline in which major clades of bacteria and archaea colonized the ocean using a high-resolution benchmarked phylogenetic tree that allows for simultaneous and direct comparison of the ages of multiple divergent lineages. Our findings show that the diversification of the most prevalent marine clades spans throughout a period of 2.2 Ga, with most clades colonizing the ocean during the last 800 million years. The oldest clades – SAR202, SAR324, Ca. Marinimicrobia, and Marine Group II – diversified around the time of the Great Oxidation Event, during which oxygen concentration increased but remained at microaerophilic levels throughout the Mid-Proterozoic, consistent with the prevalence of some clades within these groups in oxygen minimum zones today. We found the diversification of the prevalent heterotrophic marine clades SAR11, SAR116, SAR92, SAR86, and Roseobacter as well as the Marine Group I to occur near to the Neoproterozoic Oxygenation Event (0.8–0.4 Ga). The diversification of these clades is concomitant with an overall increase of oxygen and nutrients in the ocean at this time, as well as the diversification of eukaryotic algae, consistent with the previous hypothesis that the diversification of heterotrophic bacteria is linked to the emergence of large eukaryotic phytoplankton. The youngest clades correspond to the widespread phototrophic clades Prochlorococcus, Synechococcus, and Crocosphaera, whose diversification happened after the Phanerozoic Oxidation Event (0.45–0.4 Ga), in which oxygen concentrations had already reached their modern levels in the atmosphere and the ocean. Our work clarifies the timing at which abundant lineages of bacteria and archaea colonized the ocean, thereby providing key insights into the evolutionary history of lineages that comprise the majority of prokaryotic biomass in the modern ocean.
In many species, meiotic recombination events tend to occur in narrow intervals of the genome, known as hotspots. In humans and mice, double strand break (DSB) hotspot locations are determined by the DNA-binding specificity of the zinc finger array of the PRDM9 protein, which is rapidly evolving at residues in contact with DNA. Previous models explained this rapid evolution in terms of the need to restore PRDM9 binding sites lost to gene conversion over time, under the assumption that more PRDM9 binding always leads to more DSBs. This assumption, however, does not align with current evidence. Recent experimental work indicates that PRDM9 binding on both homologs facilitates DSB repair, and that the absence of sufficient symmetric binding disrupts meiosis. We therefore consider an alternative hypothesis: that rapid PRDM9 evolution is driven by the need to restore symmetric binding because of its role in coupling DSB formation and efficient repair. To this end, we model the evolution of PRDM9 from first principles: from its binding dynamics to the population genetic processes that govern the evolution of the zinc finger array and its binding sites. We show that the loss of a small number of strong binding sites leads to the use of a greater number of weaker ones, resulting in a sharp reduction in symmetric binding and favoring new PRDM9 alleles that restore the use of a smaller set of strong binding sites. This decrease, in turn, drives rapid PRDM9 evolutionary turnover. Our results therefore suggest that the advantage of new PRDM9 alleles is in limiting the number of binding sites used effectively, rather than in increasing net PRDM9 binding. By extension, our model suggests that the evolutionary advantage of hotspots may have been to increase the efficiency of DSB repair and/or homolog pairing.