The directed mutation controversy and neo-Darwinism

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Science  08 Jan 1993:
Vol. 259, Issue 5092, pp. 188-194
DOI: 10.1126/science.7678468


According to neo-Darwinian theory, random mutation produces genetic differences among organisms whereas natural selection tends to increase the frequency of advantageous alleles. However, several recent papers claim that certain mutations in bacteria and yeast occur at much higher rates specifically when the mutant phenotypes are advantageous. Various molecular models have been proposed that might explain these directed mutations, but the models have not been confirmed. Critics contend that studies purporting to demonstrate directed mutation lack certain controls and fail to account adequately for population dynamics. Further experiments that address these criticisms do not support the existence of directed mutations.

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