The fixation probability of beneficial mutations

J R Soc Interface. 2008 Nov 6;5(28):1279-89. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2008.0248.


The fixation probability, the probability that the frequency of a particular allele in a population will ultimately reach unity, is one of the cornerstones of population genetics. In this review, we give a brief historical overview of mathematical approaches used to estimate the fixation probability of beneficial alleles. We then focus on more recent work that has relaxed some of the key assumptions in these early papers, providing estimates that have wider applicability to both natural and laboratory settings. In the final section, we address the possibility of future work that might bridge the gap between theoretical results to date and results that might realistically be applied to the experimental evolution of microbial populations. Our aim is to highlight the concrete, testable predictions that have arisen from the theoretical literature, with the intention of further motivating the invaluable interplay between theory and experiment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alleles*
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Founder Effect
  • Genetics, Population*
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Population Density
  • Population Dynamics