Research NewsEvolutionary Biology

Impact of DNA Replication Errors Put to the Test

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Science  10 May 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5263, pp. 816-817
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5263.816


Tokyo—Molecular biologist Mitsuru Furusawa and embryologist Hirofumi Doi have developed a theoretical model showing that the very process of DNA synthesis spreads mutations unevenly across a population. The process may help keep populations robust by preserving a stable genetic baseline, yet pave the way for rapid evolutionary change when environmental conditions shift. Now a team of Austrian scientists will look for the kinds of evolutionary changes the model predicts in two experimental organisms. If they succeed, the results will not only increase understanding of evolutionary processes but also elevate the status of evolutionary biology as an experimental science.