The mutation component of genetic damage

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Science  22 May 1981:
Vol. 212, Issue 4497, pp. 888-893
DOI: 10.1126/science.7233180


The mutation component, M, is a measure of the proportion of the impact of a genetic condition that is attributable to recurrent mutation. For a trait maintained by balance between mutation and directional selection, M is approximately the broad-sense heritability; for a measured character where the mean and optimum coincide, M is about half the heritability. If the narrow-sense heritability is high, the impact changes relatively rapidly with a change in mutation rate. If the narrow-sense heritability is low, M cannot be predicted, but the change in impact following a change in mutation rate, if any, is very slow.