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  Strong evidence for the adaptive walk model of gene evolution in Drosophila and Arabidopsis

Moutinho, A. F., Eyre-Walker, A., & Dutheil, J. Y. (2022). Strong evidence for the adaptive walk model of gene evolution in Drosophila and Arabidopsis. PLoS Biology, 20(9): e3001775. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.3001775.

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 Creators:
Moutinho, Ana Filipa1, Author                 
Eyre-Walker, Adam, Author
Dutheil, Julien Y.1, Author                 
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1Research Group Molecular Systems Evolution (Dutheil), Department Evolutionary Genetics (Tautz), Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society, ou_2068287              

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Free keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; Drosophila melanogaster; Evolutionary genetics; Evolutionary adaptation; Evolutionary rate; Gene expression; Molecular evolution; Statistical data
 Abstract: Understanding the dynamics of species adaptation to their environments has long been a central focus of the study of evolution. Theories of adaptation propose that populations evolve by “walking” in a fitness landscape. This “adaptive walk” is characterised by a pattern of diminishing returns, where populations further away from their fitness optimum take larger steps than those closer to their optimal conditions. Hence, we expect young genes to evolve faster and experience mutations with stronger fitness effects than older genes because they are further away from their fitness optimum. Testing this hypothesis, however, constitutes an arduous task. Young genes are small, encode proteins with a higher degree of intrinsic disorder, are expressed at lower levels, and are involved in species-specific adaptations. Since all these factors lead to increased protein evolutionary rates, they could be masking the effect of gene age. While controlling for these factors, we used population genomic data sets of Arabidopsis and Drosophila and estimated the rate of adaptive substitutions across genes from different phylostrata. We found that a gene’s evolutionary age significantly impacts the molecular rate of adaptation. Moreover, we observed that substitutions in young genes tend to have larger physicochemical effects. Our study, therefore, provides strong evidence that molecular evolution follows an adaptive walk model across a large evolutionary timescale.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2021-11-032022-08-012022-09-13
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: -
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 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3001775
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Title: PLoS Biology
  Other : PLoS Biol.
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: San Francisco, California, US : Public Library of Science
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 20 (9) Sequence Number: e3001775 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 1544-9173
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/111056649444170