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A Primer of Molecular Population Genetics$
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Asher D. Cutter

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198838944

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198838944.001.0001

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The origins of molecular diversity

The origins of molecular diversity

Chapter:
(p.11) Chapter 2 The origins of molecular diversity
Source:
A Primer of Molecular Population Genetics
Author(s):

Asher D. Cutter

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198838944.003.0002

At its simplest, evolution is change in the relative abundance of alternative alleles, from one generation to the next. But where do these different alleles come from? As the ultimate origin of all genetic novelty, the input of new mutations into a population forms the critical first step for incorporating biological detail into how we conceive of genome evolution. Chapter 2, “The origins of molecular diversity,” summarizes the many mechanisms of mutation, the distribution of fitness effects, and how to characterize mutational processes themselves in conceptual models. It covers point mutations, indels, microsatellites, transposable elements, and other mutation types in the context of the genetic code and gene duplication, as well as the role of mutation accumulation experiments in understanding mutation rates and fitness effects. The infinite alleles, infinite sites, and stepwise mutation models are summarized, along with the concept of homoplasy and complexities to the mutation process in nature. These important extra pieces of biological realism connect more closely the mechanisms of evolution to show the path toward a deeper analysis of genomes.

Keywords:   mutation, single nucleotide mutations, indels, repeat mutations, fitness effects, mutational models, infinite sites model

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