Neutral Evolution of Mutational Robustness
Abstract
We introduce and analyze a general model of a population evolving over a network of selectively neutral genotypes. We show that the population's limit distribution on the neutral network is solely determined by the network topology and given by the principal eigenvector of the network's adjacency matrix. Moreover, the average number of neutral mutant neighbors per individual is given by the matrix spectral radius. These results quantify the extent to which populations evolve mutational robustnessthe insensitivity of the phenotype to mutationsand thus reduce genetic load. Because the average neutrality is independent of evolutionary parameterssuch as mutation rate, population size, and selective advantageone can infer global statistics of neutral network topology by using simple population data available from in vitro or in vivo evolution. Populations evolving on neutral networks of RNA secondary structures show excellent agreement with our theoretical predictions.
 Publication:

Proceedings of the National Academy of Science
 Pub Date:
 August 1999
 DOI:
 10.1073/pnas.96.17.9716
 arXiv:
 arXiv:adaporg/9903006
 Bibcode:
 1999PNAS...96.9716V
 Keywords:

 Nonlinear Sciences  Adaptation and SelfOrganizing Systems;
 Quantitative Biology  Populations and Evolution
 EPrint:
 7 pages, 3 figures