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Compensatory mutations are repeatable and clustered within proteins

By Brad H. Davis, Art F.Y. Poon and Michael C. Whitlock


Compensatory mutations improve fitness in genotypes that contain deleterious mutations but have no beneficial effects otherwise. As such, compensatory mutations represent a very specific form of epistasis. We show that intragenic compensatory mutations occur non-randomly over gene sequence. Compensatory mutations are more likely to appear at some sites than others. Moreover, the sites of compensatory mutations are more likely than expected by chance to be near the site of the original deleterious mutation. Furthermore, compensatory mutations tend to occur more commonly in certain regions of the protein even when controlling for clustering around the site of the deleterious mutation. These results suggest that compensatory evolution at the protein level is partially predictable and may be convergent

Topics: Research Article
Publisher: The Royal Society
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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