Sensitivity of the distribution of mutational fitness effects to environment, genetic background, and adaptedness: a case study with Drosophila

Evolution. 2014 Mar;68(3):840-53. doi: 10.1111/evo.12309. Epub 2013 Dec 6.


Heterogeneity in the fitness effects of individual mutations has been found across different environmental and genetic contexts. Going beyond effects on individual mutations, how is the distribution of selective effects, f(s), altered by changes in genetic and environmental context? In this study, we examined changes in the major features of f(s) by estimating viability selection on 36 individual mutations in Drosophila melanogaster across two different environments in two different genetic backgrounds that were either adapted or nonadapted to the two test environments. Both environment and genetic background affected selection on individual mutations. However, the overall distribution f(s) appeared robust to changes in genetic background but both the mean, E(s), and the variance, V(s) were dependent on the environment. Between these two properties, V(s) was more sensitive to environmental change. Contrary to predictions of fitness landscape theory, the match between genetic background and assay environment (i.e., adaptedness) had little effect on f(s).

Keywords: Distribution of fitness effects; epistasis; mutation; selection; stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / genetics
  • Animals
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Environment
  • Genetic Fitness*
  • Genotype
  • Mutation*
  • Selection, Genetic*