Como calcular a taxa de mutação para biologia evolucionária

quarta-feira, julho 18, 2018

How to Calculate Mutation Rate for Evolutionary Biology

Four ways to study mutation rate, a crucial statistic in studies of evolution

Jul 1, 2018


Mutation: it’s the raw material for evolution. That makes knowing the rate at which it occurs crucial to the study of evolutionary biology.

Mutation rate figures into all kinds of calculations. For example, the “molecular clocks” that evolutionary biologists use to estimate when one species first diverged into two are based on species’ mutation rates. Scientists also use the rates to track how quickly viruses, such as influenza, evolve. And cancer biologists are interested in using mutation rates to estimate how quickly tumor cell genomes might change over time.

“It is a parameter that you have to input into every mutation-evolution model there is,” says Yuan Zhu, a postdoc at the Genome Institute of Singapore.

Scientists used to infer mutations from phenotypic changes, such as the development of drug resistance. Now, thanks to increasingly cost-effective and rapid DNA sequencing, more-sophisticated ways of getting a handle on whole-genome mutation rates have emerged. Among these techniques are methods that researchers can apply to just about any species. Though scientists have primarily analyzed microbes and viruses thus far, they’ve also tackled lab models such as Drosophila and Arabidopsis, and even humans. These techniques are revealing how the mutation rate varies across the genome of a single species, and they’re pinpointing regions that are especially prone to alteration. They’re also uncovering the error rates of different enzymes, such as polymerases and repair enzymes, in the DNA replication process.

Here, The Scientist profiles four different ways of studying mutation rates in viruses, yeasts, and humans.


Read more here/Leia mais aqui: The Scientist