Selection, epistasis, and parent-of-origin effects on deleterious mutations across environments in Drosophila melanogaster

Am Nat. 2009 Dec;174(6):863-74. doi: 10.1086/645088.


Understanding the nature of selection against deleterious alleles is central to determining how populations are affected by the constant influx of new mutations. Important progress has been made in estimating basic attributes of the distribution of selection coefficients and gene interaction effects (epistasis). Although most aspects of selection are likely to be context dependent, little is known about the effect of stress on selection and epistasis at the level of individual genes, especially in multicellular organisms. Using Drosophila melanogaster, we measure how selection on 20 mutant alleles is affected by direct and indirect genetic factors across two environments. We find that environmental stress increases selection against individual mutations but reduces selection against combinations of mutations (i.e., epistasis becomes more positive). In addition, we find a high incidence of indirect genetic effects whereby the strength of selection against the alleles carried by offspring is dependent on the genotypes of their parents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / growth & development
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology
  • Epistasis, Genetic*
  • Genotype
  • Larva / genetics
  • Larva / physiology
  • Mutation*
  • Selection, Genetic*