Clonal Interference and the Evolution of RNA Viruses

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Science  10 Sep 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5434, pp. 1745-1747
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5434.1745

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In asexual populations, beneficial mutations that occur in different lineages compete with one another. This phenomenon, known as clonal interference, ensures that those beneficial mutations that do achieve fixation are of large effect. Clonal interference also increases the time between fixations, thereby slowing the adaptation of asexual populations. The effects of clonal interference were measured in the asexual RNA virus vesicular stomatitis virus; rates and average effects of beneficial mutations were quantified.

  • * Present address: Theoretical Biology and Biophysics Group, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545, USA.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: santiago.elena{at}

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