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Health

Distribution of fitness effects of mutations?

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanMay 31, 2008 11:47 PM

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Haven't had a time to check this paper out, but looks real interesting, Assessing the Evolutionary Impact of Amino Acid Mutations in the Human Genome:

Although mutations are known to cause varying degrees of harmful effects, it is difficult to quantify the distribution that best describes the variation of fitness effects of these mutations. Here we present a new method for inferring this distribution and inferring population history using Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) data from human populations. Using 47,576 SNPs discovered in 11,404 genes from sequencing 35 individuals (20 European Americans and 15 African Americans), we find evidence of an ancient population expansion in the sample with African ancestry and a relatively recent bottleneck in the sample with European ancestry. In both populations, the patterns of variation are consistent with a leptokurtic distribution of selection coefficients (e.g., gamma or log-normal) peaked near neutrality. Specifically, we predict 27-29% of amino acid changing (nonsynonymous) mutations are neutral or nearly neutral, 30-42% are moderately deleterious, and nearly all the remainder are highly deleterious or lethal. Furthermore, we infer that 10-20% of amino acid differences between humans and chimpanzees were fixed by positive selection, with the remainder of differences being neutral or nearly neutral.

Leptokurtosis describes a more acute peak around the mean.

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