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Population-level consequences of inheritable somatic mutations and the evolution of mutation rates in plants

Abstract : Inbreeding depression, that is the decrease in fitness of inbred relative to outbred individuals, was shown to increase strongly as life expectancy increases in plants. Because plants are thought to not have a separated germline, it was proposed that this pattern could be generated by somatic mutations accumulating during growth, since larger and more long-lived species have more opportunities for mutations to accumulate. A key determinant of the role of somatic mutations is the rate at which they occur, which likely differs between species because mutation rates may evolve differently in species with constrasting life-histories. In this paper, I study the evolution of the mutation rates in plants, and consider the population-level consequences of inheritable somatic mutations given this evolution. I show that despite substantially lower somatic and meiotic mutation rates, more long-lived species still tend to accumulate larger amounts of deleterious mutations because of the increased number of opportunities they have to acquire mutations during growth, leading to higher levels of inbreeding depression in these species. However, the magnitude of this increase depends strongly on how mutagenic meiosis is relative to growth, to the point of being close to nonexistent in some situations.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03404994
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Submitted on : Tuesday, October 26, 2021 - 11:45:24 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, October 28, 2021 - 4:09:52 AM

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Thomas Lesaffre. Population-level consequences of inheritable somatic mutations and the evolution of mutation rates in plants. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Royal Society, The, 2021. ⟨hal-03404994⟩

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