Variation in base-substitution mutation in experimental and natural lineages of caenorhabditis nematodes

Dee R. Denver, Larry J. Wilhelm, Dana K. Howe, Kristin Gafner, Peter C. Dolan, Charles F. Baer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Variation among lineages in the mutation process has the potential to impact diverse biological processes ranging from susceptibilities to genetic disease to the mode and tempo of molecular evolution. The combination of high-throughput DNA sequencing (HTS) with mutation-accumulation (MA) experiments has provided a powerful approach to genome-wide mutation analysis, though insights into mutational variation have been limited by the vast evolutionary distances among the few species analyzed. We performed a HTS analysis of MA lines derived from four Caenorhabditis nematode natural genotypes: C. elegans N2 and PB306 and C. briggsae HK104 and PB800. Total mutation rates did not differ among the four sets of MA lines. A mutational bias toward G:C→A:T transitions and G:C→T:A transversions was observed in all four sets of MA lines. Chromosome-specific rates were mostly stable, though there was some evidence for a slightly elevated X chromosome mutation rate in PB306. Rates were homogeneous among functional coding sequence types and across autosomal cores, arms, and tips. Mutation spectra were similar among the four MA line sets but differed significantly when compared with patterns of natural base-substitution polymorphism for 13/14 comparisons performed. Our findings show that base-substitution mutation processes in these closely related animal lineages are mostly stable but differ from natural polymorphism patterns in these two species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-522
Number of pages10
JournalGenome biology and evolution
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012


  • Base substitution
  • Mutation rate
  • Mutation spectrum
  • Nematode


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