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Begun, D.J. (2001). The frequency distribution of nucleotide variation in Drosophila simulans.  Mol. Biol. Evol. 18(7): 1343--1352.
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Patterns of codon bias in Drosophila suggest that silent mutations can be classified into two types: unpreferred (slightly deleterious) and preferred (slightly beneficial). Results of previous analyses of polymorphism and divergence in Drosophila simulans were interpreted as supporting a mutation-selection-drift model in which slightly deleterious, silent mutants make significantly greater contributions to polymorphism than to divergence. Frequencies of unpreferred polymorphisms were inferred to be lower than frequencies of other silent polymorphisms. Here, I analyzed additional D. simulans data to reevaluate the support for these ideas. I found that D. simulans has fixed more unpreferred than preferred mutations, suggesting that this lineage has not been at mutation-selection-drift equilibrium at silent sites. Frequencies of polarized unpreferred polymorphisms are not skewed toward rare alleles. However, frequencies of unpolarized unpreferred codons are lower in high-bias genes than in low-bias genes. This supports the idea that unpreferred codons are borderline deleterious mutations. Purifying selection on silent sites appears to be stronger at twofold-degenerate codons than at fourfold-degenerate codons. Finally, I found that X-linked polymorphisms occur at a higher average frequency than polymorphisms on chromosome arm 3R, even though an average X-linked site is significantly less likely to be polymorphic than an average site on 3R. This result supports a previous analysis of D. simulans indicating different population genetics of X-linked versus autosomal mutations.

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    Publication Type
    Mol. Biol. Evol.
    Molecular Biology and Evolution
    Publication Year
    0737-4038 1537-1719
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