Quantification of Adaptive Evolution of Genes Expressed in Avian Brain and the Population Size Effect on the Efficacy of Selection
2009 (English)In: Molecular biology and evolution, ISSN 0737-4038, E-ISSN 1537-1719, Vol. 26, no 5, 1073-1079 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Whether protein evolution is mainly due to fixation of beneficial alleles by positive selection or to random genetic drift has remained a contentious issue over the years. Here, we use two genomewide polymorphism data sets collected from chicken populations, together with divergence data from >5,000 chicken-zebra finch gene orthologs expressed in brain, to assess the amount of adaptive evolution in protein-coding genes of birds. First, we show that estimates of the fixation index (FI, the ratio of fixed nonsynonymous-to-synonymous changes over the ratio of the corresponding polymorphisms) are highly dependent on the character of the underlying data sets. Second, by using polymorphism data from high-frequency alleles, to avoid the confounding effect of slightly deleterious mutations segregating at low frequency, we estimate that about 20% of amino acid changes have been brought to fixation through positive selection during avian evolution. This estimate is intermediate to that obtained in humans (lower) and flies as well as bacteria (higher), and is consistent with population genetics theory that stipulates a positive relationship between the efficiency of selection and the effective population size. Further, by comparing the FIs for common and all alleles, we estimate that approximate to 20% of nonsynonymous variation segregating in chicken populations represent slightly deleterious mutations, which is less than in Drosophila. Overall, these results highlight the link between the effective population size and positive as well as negative selection.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 26, no 5, 1073-1079 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-129081DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msp019ISI: 000265274000011OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-129081DiVA: diva2:337555