In DepthGenetics

Human mutation rate a legacy from our past

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Science  13 Apr 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6385, pp. 143
DOI: 10.1126/science.360.6385.143

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  • RE: Monogamy can increase genetic variation and avoid early mature and may counteract the changing of mutation rate
    • Cedric Fan, Professor, MIT Information Quality Program- Data Quality & Info Security Lab, Nanjing Tech University
    • Other Contributors:
      • Amanda Cao, Visiting Fellow, Wolfson College, the University of Cambridge

    In the IN DEPTH “Human mutation rate a legacy from our past” (Science 13 April 2018: Vol. 360 no. 6385 pp. 143), Elizabeth Pennisi (1) described a drift barrier hypothesis and an inverse relationship between mutation rate and ancient population size.

    Their finding is quite interesting and useful. The inverse relationship may lead to an appropriate genetic variation. Humans tend to form even smaller groups and mate within them. The natural selection has also lost some of its effect. To study the relation of population and sex balance, we can use SREA (Sexual Reproductive Evolution Algorithm) to simulate and analyze it. We find that Monogamy will slow down the evolution speed, however it helps to increase genetic variation and avoid early mature. And then it may counteract the increasing rate of mutation.


    1 Elizabeth Pennisi, Science 360, 6385 (2018).
    2 National Natural Science Foundation of China (71671089)

    Competing Interests: None declared.