Fitness of arabidopsis thaliana mutation accumulation lines whose spontaneous mutations are known

Matthew T. Rutter, Angela Roles, Jeffrey K. Conner, Ruth G. Shaw, Frank H. Shaw, Korbinian Schneeberger, Stephan Ossowski, Detlef Weigel, Charles B. Fenster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Despite the fundamental importance of mutation to the evolutionary process, we have little knowledge of the direct consequences of specific spontaneous mutations to the fitness of the organism. Combining results of whole-genome sequencing with repeated field assays of survival and reproduction, we quantify the combined effects on fitness of spontaneous mutations identified in Arabidopsis thaliana. We demonstrate that the effects are beneficial, deleterious, or neutral depending on the environmental context. Some lines, bearing mutations disrupting known loci, differ strongly in fitness from the founder or premutation genotype. Those effects vary across environments, for example, a line with a major deletion spanning a transcription factor gene expressed lower fitness than the founder under most conditions but exceeded the founder's fitness in one environment. The large contribution of genotype by environment interaction (G × E) to mutation effects on fitness implies spatial and/or temporal variation in selection on new mutations and could contribute to the maintenance of standing genetic variation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2335-2339
Number of pages5
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2012


  • G × E
  • Genetic variation
  • Mutation
  • Quantitative genetics


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