Mutation rate variation in multicellular eukaryotes: causes and consequences

Nat Rev Genet. 2007 Aug;8(8):619-31. doi: 10.1038/nrg2158.


A basic knowledge about mutation rates is central to our understanding of a myriad of evolutionary phenomena, including the maintenance of sex and rates of molecular evolution. Although there is substantial evidence that mutation rates vary among taxa, relatively little is known about the factors that underlie this variation at an empirical level, particularly in multicellular eukaryotes. Here we integrate several disparate lines of theoretical and empirical inquiry into a unified framework to guide future studies that are aimed at understanding why and how mutation rates evolve in multicellular species.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA Repair
  • DNA Replication
  • Eukaryotic Cells
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Female
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genome
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Mutagens / toxicity
  • Mutation*
  • Pedigree


  • Mutagens