## Abstract

In many biological scenarios, from the development of drug resistance in pathogens to the progression of healthy cells toward cancer, quantifying the selection acting on observed mutations is a central question. One difficulty in answering this question is the complexity of the background upon which mutations can arise, with multiple potential interactions between genetic loci. We here present a method for discerning selection from a population history that accounts for interference between mutations. Given sequences sampled from multiple time points in the history of a population, we infer selection at each locus by maximizing a likelihood function derived from a multilocus evolution model. We apply the method to the question of distinguishing between loci where new mutations are under positive selection (drivers) and loci that emit neutral mutations (passengers) in a Wright–Fisher model of evolution. Relative to an otherwise equivalent method in which the genetic background of mutations was ignored, our method inferred selection coefficients more accurately for both driver mutations evolving under clonal interference and passenger mutations reaching fixation in the population through genetic drift or hitchhiking. In a population history recorded by 750 sets of sequences of 100 individuals taken at intervals of 100 generations, a set of 50 loci were divided into drivers and passengers with a mean accuracy of >0.95 across a range of numbers of driver loci. The potential application of our model, either in full or in part, to a range of biological systems, is discussed.

INTERFERENCE between mutations in an evolving population can have significant effects on adaptation, affecting the development of both beneficial and nonbeneficial mutations. In the absence of recombination, beneficial mutations arising within different individuals compete with one another, in a process referred to as clonal interference (Fisher 1930; Muller 1932). Where the effects of selection are strong, effects on nonbeneficial mutations are seen, with neutral and deleterious alleles fixing via hitchhiking with strongly beneficial alleles (Smith and Haigh 1974).

The importance of interference, caused by genetic linkage between mutations, has been noted in a range of experimental studies. For example, clonal interference places a constraint on the speed of adaptive evolution (De Visser *et al.* 1999) and it affects the magnitude of selection coefficients of mutations escaping genetic drift (Perfeito *et al.* 2007). Studies of the evolution of an RNA virus have shown a loss of beneficial mutations through interference (Bollback and Huelsenbeck 2007; Betancourt 2009). Observations of reduced genomic diversity in regions of genomes with lower recombination rates are consistent with the fixation of alleles through hitchhiking (Stephan and Langley 1989). In a recent large-scale study of beneficial mutations in the adaptation of yeast, background genetic variation was observed to be critical in determining the fate of new mutations (Lang *et al.* 2011).

In an attempt to understand the underlying dynamics of populations characterized by interference, a range of theoretical models have been developed, giving estimates for properties such as the fixation probability of a beneficial mutation, the expected rate of change of the mean fitness of the population, and the rate of substitutions within the population (see, *e.g.*, Barton 1995; Gerrish and Lenski 1998; Gillepie 2001; Rouzine *et al.* 2003; Wilke 2004; Desai and Fisher 2007). As summarized in recent reviews (Park *et al.* 2010; Sniegowski and Gerrish 2010), these studies and others have made a substantial and still growing contribution to the understanding of asexual evolution.

In this work we present a method to infer selection in an evolving population characterized by multiple genetic linkages between mutations at different loci. While in our understanding we lean heavily on the body of theoretical work discussed above, our approach is substantially different. Rather than describing general properties of systems under selection, such as mean times for allele fixation, we consider the evolutionary history of a single system. Using time-resolved data from the system, we try to deduce the fitness landscape according to which adaptation has in that one specific case taken place.

Our method complements existing methods of discerning selective effects. In a commonly used method, the labeling of a fraction of the population by a genetic marker with known or neutral effect can be used to measure evolutionary fitness (Hegreness *et al.* 2006; Kao and Sherlock 2008; Barrick *et al.* 2010; Lang *et al.* 2011). Our method bears some similarity to this approach, in that we consider subsections of the population with and without given mutations at a locus, but extends the idea to consider all mutations present at any one time.

Our method is designed for the analysis of time-series data. In microbial systems, an increasing amount of data of this form are becoming available via application of modern sequencing technologies, with measurements in some cases taken over long time periods (Barrick *et al.* 2009). The potential scope for application, however, may extend beyond these examples. In studies of the development of cancer, for example, a distinction is made between driver mutations, which push a cell toward a cancerous state, and passenger mutations not directly contributing to the cancer phenotype of the cell (Stratton *et al.* 2009). Time-series genetic data, recorded over the development of a cancer, have the potential to aid the identification of mutations that lead to cancer. To give another example, viral systems adapt over time to acquire resistance to drug therapy (Coffin 1995) or to evade immune pressure (Grenfell *et al.* 2004). The analysis of time-series data of viral evolution, in a single patient or across a local or global outbreak, leads to the possibility of distinguishing the selective effects of observed mutations.

To demonstrate the principles of our method, we here apply it to a model system consisting of two-allele loci divided into “drivers”, at which mutants convey a fixed fitness benefit, and “passengers”, which evolve neutrally. The inspiration for the model is taken from a viral system that evolves under pressure to escape from its host’s immune system. A survey of 35 negative-sense RNA viruses has suggested that homologous recombination is relatively rare, implying the potential importance of genetic background effects on mutations (Chare 2003). RNA viruses have high mutation rates, allowing for rapid adaptation to selective pressure (Holland *et al.* 1982). Our model, in which beneficial mutants at driver loci revert to wild-type fitness levels upon fixation, represents to an extent viruses such as influenza, where immune escape is an important driver to evolution in strains affecting both humans and other species (Smith *et al.* 2004; Park *et al.* 2009).

We here demonstrate the ability of our method to separate driver and passenger loci by discerning selection coefficients in a system characterized by interference between mutations. We examine the performance of the method in capturing the effects of selection under a range of sampling conditions, considering different time resolution and depths of sequencing. Finally, we discuss the potential for developing and applying the method for use with biological data.

## Methods

### Overview of the inference method

We divide our description of the method into two sections, considering first methods and results that are inherent to our procedure for estimating selection in a system of linked mutations and second those adaptations or implementations that are particular to the testing of the method carried out here. Thinking first about the inherent method, we here consider a population of *N* individuals, represented by sequences each of *L* loci. We suppose that each locus *i* is biallelic with alleles {0, 1}, the mutant allele having a constant selection coefficient *i.e.*, constant fitness difference between the alleles).

At the heart of our method is a maximum-likelihood calculation. Given a set of measurements from a system describing allele and two-locus haplotype frequencies at a range of different points in time (frequencies potentially being derived from individual sequences), we calculate the likelihood of these data given an arbitrary set of locus selection coefficients. This provides an objective function, which can be maximized to obtain the maximum-likelihood set of locus selection coefficients. Figure 1 provides an overview of the different steps of the method, which we now describe in more detail.

### Measuring allele and haplotype frequencies

Given our population, we consider changes in the population over time. At a given time *t*, we define *a* ∈ {0, 1} at locus *i* and *a*, *b* ∈ {0, 1} at loci *i*, *j*. We now suppose that the population is sampled at a set of time points *t _{k}* for

*k*= 1, 2, … , with

*t*

_{k}_{.}We write

*a*∈ {0, 1} at locus

*i*at time

*t*

_{k}_{,}and

*a*,

*b*∈ {0, 1} at loci

*i*,

*j*, also at time

*t*.

_{k}### Dividing mutant allele frequencies into trajectories

Sampled allele frequencies from each locus were divided into trajectories, each trajectory consisting of a set of frequencies at consecutive sample times describing the evolution of a single polymorphism. The first element in a trajectory was characterized by the first observation of polymorphism at a locus at which no trajectory was already in progress, while the last element of a trajectory was defined as the first observation at which the fixation or death of the polymorphism was observed. To distinguish the real fixation or death of a polymorphism from artifacts of the finite sampling process, sample allele frequencies subsequent to the apparent fixation or death were examined.

### Guessing initial locus selection coefficients

We use the notation * _{i}*}. Initial estimates for locus selection coefficients were assigned from the uniform random distribution U(-\σ, σ).

### Identifying nonneutral trajectories

As we go on to describe, our method attempts to identify the strength of selection on an allele from observations of changes in the allele frequency, making the assumption that changes in allele frequency are driven primarily by selection. This assumption makes sense only if selective effects are indeed the main cause of allele frequency changes. We note that, at very small frequencies, changes in an allele frequency are dominated by genetic drift, with selection becoming the primary driver of evolution at a threshold frequency of 1/*N*σ (Rouzine *et al.* 2001). To avoid assigning selection to primarily stochastic events, observed trajectories were divided into two sets according to their maximum observed frequency. Given an estimated locus selection coefficient *i* with a maximum allele frequency of less than a threshold *N* here being taken from the underlying population. Trajectories above this threshold were modeled as evolving nonneutrally, due to the effects of selection. While not eliminating drift from the system, this removed from consideration a substantial number of trajectories for which selection was not the primary driver of allele frequency change.

### Calculating time-dependent selection coefficients accounting for linkage effects

Due to effects such as hitchhiking and clonal interference, the selection acting on a mutant allele can change over time. We define the effective selection coefficient *i* at time *t _{k}*, accounting for linkage to alleles at other loci under positive or negative selection. Assuming an additive model of selection, the effect of linkage with other alleles can be written as a sum of pairwise interactions, such that

*(*

_{ij}*t*) is the effect that alleles at locus

_{k}*j*have on the selection acting on the mutant allele at

*i*at time

*t*.

_{k}To demonstrate this, we first recall the standard result that, assuming deterministic dynamics, changes in the two-locus haplotype frequencies can be written in the form*i* given a simultaneous polymorphism at locus *j*. At the locus *i*, the change in the mutant allele frequency can be expressed as* _{i}* and σ

*and rearranging gives*

_{j}*et al.*2002; Neher and Shraiman 2011).

For trajectories with maximal frequency less than the threshold frequency, the effective selection coefficient *t _{k}*

_{,}while the effects of linkage between these and other trajectories were ignored;

*i.e.*,

### Fitting maximum-likelihood deterministic trajectories

A deterministic curve, satisfying the approximate selection coefficients *i* is the only polymorphic locus in the system, the evolution of *t* = 0. Where more than one locus in the system is polymorphic, changes in the haplotype frequencies and effective selection coefficients become interlinked, leading to complex evolutionary behavior; however, changes in the mutant allele frequency can be approximated using a discrete method. If Δ*t _{k}* =

*t*

_{k}_{+1}−

*t*is small, such that the linkage between alleles does not change substantially within this time interval, we can write the difference equation

_{k}Assuming the underlying frequencies *t _{k}*. For each trajectory, the sampling time

*t*

_{c}closest to equidistant between the start and end points of the trajectory was found, and the frequency

Curve fitting was carried out using a maximum-likelihood method, utilizing a binomial model. Given a large population in which the frequency of a mutant allele is *q*, the probability that a sample of *n*_{g} sequences from the population will have the mutant allele frequency *i* at time *t _{k}*, the likelihood of a given underlying frequency

### Calculating the overall likelihood for the selection coefficients

The fitting of inferred frequencies to the observed frequencies for each trajectory results in an associated log likelihood in each case, the likelihood being a function of the estimated selection coefficients

### Testing the performance of the method using model data

Having outlined the general principles of the method, we now describe its application to detect selection in a simulated population. A Wright–Fisher model was used to simulate a population of fixed size, with loci divided into drivers, at which the mutant allele was under positive selection, and passengers, which evolved in a neutral fashion. Under a range of different model parameters, the ability of the method to identify locus selection coefficients was tested. Details of the process are given below.

#### Simulating evolutionary histories:

The underlying population was simulated using a Wright–Fisher model with a fixed population size of *N* = 10^{4} individuals. Each individual consisted of a sequence of *L* = 50 binary loci, *a _{ij}* ∈ {0, 1}, where the first index denotes the individual (1 ≤

*i*≤

*N*) and the second denotes the locus (1 ≤

*j*≤

*L*). Loci themselves were divided into

*D*driver loci, at which the mutant allele had some selection coefficient σ > 0, and

*L*−

*D*passenger loci, at which the mutant allele had no selective advantage. An additive fitness landscape was assumed, such that the fitness

*F*of an individual in the population was defined as the sum of its allele fitnesses

_{i}*N*μ = 0.01. Subsequent generations were sampled from the previous population using a multinomial sampling process, in which the probability

*p*of choosing an individual

_{i}*i*for replication was proportional to

*D*, 2

*N*σ}, five simulated population histories were generated.

In viral systems such as influenza, selective pressure on antigenic loci varies according to immune adaptation to the current strain. Here, a model of constant selective pressure on the driver loci was assumed, such that any new allele is always under selective advantage. As such, when a mutant allele at some locus fixed in the population, the frequency of the mutant was kept at fixation, removing the possibility of back mutations, for 3200 generations, the mutant frequency then being set to zero. The value of 3200 generations was picked arbitrarily, but allowed, with the exception of very long sample times, fixation events to be detected. Resetting fixed mutant allele frequencies in this manner caused difficulties in calling trajectories that would not be encountered with biological sequence data; details of the solution applied in this instance are given in Supporting Information, File S1.

#### Generating sample populations:

A sample of constant size *n*_{g} individuals was drawn from the population at regular intervals of *dt*_{s} generations, across a total of *T* generations. The occurrence and development of polymorphisms at each of the loci in the system were recorded, along with two-locus haplotype frequencies at each sample point.

#### Fitting deterministic trajectories:

To enable fitting between the inferred and observed frequencies in the case of very short polymorphisms (the extreme case being a single observation), null “observations” of zero frequency were added to the start of each trajectory, with further observations, representing fixation or death as appropriate, being added to the end of the trajectory. The number of observations, *n*_{o}, added in each case was calculated as a function of the difference between sample times across the trajectory, *dt*_{s}, and the mean time to fixation of a trajectory across the simulation, *dt*_{s.} At these additional sample times, for trajectories identified as being nonneutral, effective selection coefficients were set to the locus selection coefficient if the deterministic estimate for the wild-type frequency was in the interval

#### Simulated annealing:

For each simulation, and each set of values {*T*, *n*_{g}, *dt*_{s}}, five separate annealing runs were carried out, each beginning with a different set of estimates for the locus selection coefficients *N*σ.

#### Linked and unlinked analyses:

Analyses of the simulated population data were carried out using two distinct methods. In the first method, referred to from this point on as the “linked method”, identification of selection coefficients was carried out precisely as described in the methods above. In the second method, referred to as the “unlinked method”, selection coefficients were discerned without the inclusion of linkage, setting

### Analysis of results from model data

Having obtained predicted selection coefficients for each locus, two methods were applied to separate predicted driver loci from predicted passenger loci. In an initial measurement of the ability of the method to distinguish driver from passenger loci in a case where the number of driver loci is known to be equal to *D*, the loci with the *D* highest selection coefficients were identified as drivers, the remaining *L* − *D* loci being identified as passengers. Using this approach, receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were plotted, comparing true and false positive identifications of drivers across cases in which the model had between 5 and 25 driver loci for a default set of parameters *n*_{g} = 100 and *dt*_{s} = 100, representing 1% sampling of the population in 1% of generations, and *T* = 5 × 10^{5}, for each value of σ. A comparison was made between results of the linked and unlinked methods. Optimized selection coefficients obtained for driver and passenger loci were examined, examining the effect of linkage on estimates of each of these values.

In a more thorough assessment of the performance of the method, a clustering algorithm was used to separate drivers from passenger loci. Loci with large negative selection coefficients (less than minus the mean absolute value of *K*-means clustering method, identifying initial cluster centers as the two loci with estimated selection coefficients closest to 2*N*σ and zero, respectively. The accuracy of identifying drivers and passenger loci was then calculated from the numbers of correctly and incorrectly classified loci,*d*^{+} is the number of correctly identified driver loci, *p*^{+} is the number of correctly identified passenger loci, *d*^{−} is the number of incorrectly assigned passenger loci, and *p*^{−} is the number of incorrectly assigned driver loci. Mean accuracy values were calculated across simulated population histories with between 5 and 25 driver loci. Next, to assess the ability of the method to reproduce precise magnitudes of selection, the mean predicted selection coefficient was calculated over the prespecified driver loci across simulated population histories having between 5 and 50 driver loci. Calculations were performed separately for population histories with each specified value of 2*N*σ and for a range of sampling parameters (*T*, *dt*_{s}, and *n*_{g}). Results were compared for selection coefficients obtained using the linked and unlinked methods.

## Results

### Measuring selection in a linked system

In general, a good fit was observed between the frequencies inferred with the linked method and the observed allele frequencies. This is a nontrivial result as the inference is based on a deterministic approximation (see *Methods*) of a complex stochastic system. It is precisely due to this approximate description of the dynamics that the inference problem remains computationally tractable.

Figure 3 gives an illustration of the output generated by the inference at a single time point in a set of sample data.

Comparison between the observed allele frequencies and those inferred shows errors where linkage between polymorphisms was ignored, but a close fit where linkage was included. The inclusion of linkage in the inference accounts for changes in the mutant allele’s effective fitness caused by changes in the background population. The graph of correct fitness values and interlocus effects shows that linkage has a substantial effect on the locus selection coefficients and the resulting network of interactions is complex at the time point shown. While the mutant alleles at each of the 5 polymorphic loci are all beneficial, the growth of the mutant at locus 9 is opposed by the influence of the beneficial alleles at loci 2, 10, 14, and 15, leaving it under strong negative selection. The mutant at locus 2, while opposed by the influence of the mutant allele at locus 9, is positively influenced by the mutant alleles at loci 10, 14, and 15, so retaining a strong positive selection.

The distribution of haplotypes gives some insight into these fitness effects. While the beneficial allele at locus 9 is the only mutation in its haplotype, most other haplotypes contain two or more mutant alleles, and as such have higher fitnesses. Relative to the remainder of the population, the haplotype with the mutant at locus 9 is therefore under negative selection. By contrast, the haplotypes containing the mutant at locus 2, which span the majority of the population, are on average positively selected for, resulting in positive selection on the mutant at locus 2.

Graphs illustrating effective selection evaluated from the inferred selection coefficients show the ability of the linked method to capture interference between mutations and more generally the importance of linkage in the evolution of the system. At the time point in question, the unlinked method infers loci 2, 14, and 15 to be under weak positive selection, while loci 9 and 10 are close to neutral. Under the linked method, however, the inferred pattern of selection and linkage between loci is close to being correct, with, for example, locus 9 under strong negative selection and locus 15 close to neutral.

We note here that the inferred selection coefficients represented in the graphs have been evaluated from the entire data set, rather than simply for this time window. Differences between the values obtained through the linked and unlinked methods therefore reflect, to some extent, the ability of these models to explain the whole of the data. Replicas of the three graphs, in which numerical values for the effective selection acting on each locus and the effects on the effective selection resulting from each pairwise interaction between loci are shown, are given in Figure S1.

### Comparison of selection coefficients obtained with and without the incorporation of linkage

Examination of selection coefficients inferred with the linked method showed an improvement in two characteristics. First, driver loci inferred using the linked method had substantially more accurate (higher) selection coefficients than those obtained with the unlinked method. This is due to the former method accounting for clonal interference. Second, passenger loci at which a fixation occurred were inferred to have significantly lower selection coefficients under the linked method compared to the unlinked method. This result arises because the linked method can detect hitchhiking of neutral alleles with drivers.

Under the default parameters for the sampling process, 100 individuals were sampled from the population every 100 generations for a total of 5 × 10^{5} generations. With these parameters, using the method of taking the *D* loci with the highest selection coefficients to identify drivers, the linked method showed a large improvement over the unlinked method in its ability to discern driver from passenger loci. Figure 4 shows ROC curves for the default model for various values of σ, the selection coefficient acting on driver loci in the population. Here, and throughout, this selection coefficient is expressed in terms of 2*N*σ, where *N* is the population size.

At each level of selection, the accuracy of the linked method was greater than that of the unlinked method. With 2*N*σ = 10, the calculated accuracies were 0.85 and 0.79 for the linked and unlinked methods, respectively, while with 2*N*σ = 50, the accuracies were 0.999 and 0.91. At the higher selection coefficients, the linked method separated driver and passenger loci almost perfectly.

The histograms of selection coefficients identified with the linked and unlinked methods at 2*N*σ = 50 showed a clear improvement by the former method in the assignment of selection coefficients to driver loci. Under the linked method, inferred selection coefficients of drivers and passengers were well separated into roughly Gaussian distributions, with clusters close to 0 and 1 (in units of 2*N*σ), with mean selection coefficients for driver and passenger loci of 0.94 and 0.08, respectively. Under the unlinked method, the distribution of the inferred driver loci selection coefficients had a substantially lower mean of 0.41 resulting from the failure to recognize clonal interference between drivers, while the mean of the passenger loci selection coefficients was 0.07.

Although no significant difference between methods was seen between mean selection coefficients for passenger loci, an improvement was seen under the linked method in the assignment of selection coefficients for passenger loci at which a fixation event took place, with substantially lower mean selection coefficients being assigned. Figure S2 shows mean optimized selection coefficients for this subset of loci.

### Performance of the method across varying sampling parameters

The performance of both methods was tested across a range of sampling parameters, the accuracy in identifying drivers and passengers being quantified using a clustering method, and selection coefficients being measured for driver loci. Results for the linked method are shown in Figure 5, with equivalent numbers for the unlinked method shown in Figure S4. For each parameter set, five different sets of sample frequencies were generated from the evolutionary history of the population. These sets of frequencies were analyzed in five independent runs of the annealing process, so that each point in the figure represents a mean over at least 125 calculations (averaging also over at least five values of *D*). While statistical noise is still evident in the data, the overall trends are captured by the analysis.

The ability of the linked method to distinguish driver from passenger loci increased as the amount of sampling data increased, here quantified in terms of the number of generations sampled, *T*. Accuracies were higher at larger selection coefficients, due primarily to the increased difference between driver and passenger loci, but also because of the greater amount of information available for highly selected driver loci. At large selection coefficients, the probability of a mutant allele escaping genetic drift is increased, leading to a larger number of observed fixation events. Furthermore, fixations occur more quickly, allowing for more fixations to occur in a given time. In the simulation run here, a mean of 2.71 fixations per 10^{5} generations were observed in each driver locus for 2*N*σ = 100, but only 0.38 fixations in the same time period for each driver locus for 2*N*σ = 10. For 2*N*σ = 100, an accuracy of >0.95 was observed after 75,000 generations. The same result was observed for 2*N*σ = 50 at 2 × 10^{5} generations, while the accuracy for 2*N*σ = 20 is close to 0.95 after 1 million generations. As *T* increased, the accuracy of the method increased, representing better discrimination between drivers and passengers with more information available to the method. Perfect discrimination between driver and passenger loci was observed after 1 million generations for 2*N*σ = 100. Results obtained with the unlinked method were substantially worse, with an accuracy of <0.85 for all selection coefficients tested after 2 million generations.

Variance in the accuracy of the linked method for varying values of the sample size *n*_{g} shows roughly constant performance for sample sizes >100, with a decrease in performance at smaller sample sizes. At the highest selection coefficients, good results are obtained at a sample size of 20, with accuracies of 0.97 achieved for 2*N*σ = 100 and 2*N*σ = 50; however, accuracy is rapidly lost below this point. Comparison of locus selection coefficients obtained from simulations with *n*_{g} = 5, *n*_{g} = 100, and 2*N*σ = 50 suggested poorer accuracy at the lowest sampling level resulted from an increase in the variance of the inferred locus selection coefficients. Details are shown in Figure S3.

The accuracy of the linked method showed dramatic changes with increased time between sampling points, *dt*_{s}. At short sampling times, as already observed, high accuracies can be achieved. However, as *dt*_{s} increases, a decline in performance is seen, with an increased rate of decline at higher selection coefficients. At very long intervals between sample points, little information is collected about each trajectory, such that, in the extreme case, fixations are observed as changes in frequency from 0 to 1 at subsequent sample points. In such cases, measurements of linkage either cannot be made or become highly inaccurate when extrapolated over the time between sample points.

In systems for which every locus was a driver, improved selection coefficients were observed with the linked method compared to the unlinked method. Under the default sampling parameters, selection coefficients were underestimated using the unlinked method, with a larger underestimate at high selection coefficients. Mean inferred selection coefficients (in units of 2*N*σ) varied from 0.29 at 2*N*σ = 100 to 0.63 at 2*N*σ = 10. Under the linked method, mean inferred selection coefficients for the all-driver case varied from 0.91 to 1.00, with no clear correlation between the inferred coefficient and the size of σ.

Interestingly, analysis of the selection coefficients obtained for driver loci reveals a systematic error in the coefficients obtained. As *T* increases, the mean selection coefficient appears to tend to a limit that is less than one, with values closer to one obtained at lower selection coefficients. As *dt*_{s} increases, a dramatic fall in mean selection coefficients is seen, again with greater errors at higher selection coefficients. An explanation for this is discussed next.

### Interference reduces the fitness of mutations

Supposing the existence of a polymorphism at locus *i*, the function *i* at some time *t*. Furthermore, the change in the selective benefit of the mutant allele at *i* after some time τ, resulting from changes in polymorphisms at other loci, is given by

## Discussion

We have given examples of the use of a method for quantifying selection in driver–passenger systems and demonstrated its potential to separate driver from passenger loci in a model system. By accounting for the background set of polymorphisms on which a trajectory develops, the linked method corrects for clonal interference, which can reduce apparent selection coefficients, and, through recognition of fixation events occurring through hitchhiking with driver alleles, assigns lower selection coefficients to passenger loci at which the mutant allele reaches fixation.

Unsurprisingly, the performance achieved in separating driver and passenger loci depended to a great extent on the magnitude of selection acting on the driver loci, a greater driver selection coefficient describing a greater inherent difference between the two classes of loci. Here, a driver selection coefficient of 2*N*σ ≥ 50 led to accuracies >95% under a range of conditions, while drivers at 2*N*σ = 20 were more difficult to distinguish.

Variation in the sampling parameters gave a range of results. Under variation in the length of the simulation, an increase in the available data consistently improved performance. With an underlying selection coefficient defined by 2*N*σ = 100, an accuracy of >0.95 in separating driver from passenger loci was achieved in a 50-locus model after 75,000 generations of sampling, captured by 750 sample points, each containing 100 individuals. Under variance in the depth of sampling, consistent accuracy was achieved down to locus sample sizes of 20, well within the reach of next-generation sequencing methods. Finally, where the time between consecutive samples was varied, while good results were achieved at high sampling rates, increasing the sampling time was detrimental to the accuracy achieved. At the higher selection coefficients, >95% accuracy was achieved up to a sample time of 400 generations, representing the collection of, on average, 10.7 and 6.2 samples within the mean time for a fixation event at 2*N*σ = 50 and 2*N*σ = 100, respectively.

Reproducing precise values of selection coefficients proved a challenge, with the assumption of constant selection between sampling points leading to a systematic underestimate in the coefficients assigned to driver loci. Due to the computational and theoretical difficulties inherent in modeling stochastic evolution of multiple linked loci over a number of generations, some form of approximation to model the selection acting on trajectories between sampled time points is necessary [evaluation of selection using a trajectory including stochastic effects has been carried out in a single-locus case (Bollback *et al.* 2008)]. We leave the task of improving on the constant selection between the sample points approximation to future work.

Considering the application of the method to specific examples of experimental data, we note that care must be taken in the interpretation of the parameters discussed above and their effect on the accuracy potentially achievable. For the number of generations sampled, while the amount of information available increases linearly with time, the rate of this increase is a function of the inherent properties of the system. Under a higher mutation rate, more events would be observed per generation, such that more information would be available in a set number of generations. Whereas if the selection coefficient was increased, more mutations in driver loci would escape being removed at low frequencies by genetic drift, such that more fixation events would be seen. Here, where division of the entire set of loci into driver and passenger sets was the goal, a large amount of data were required, with the observation of at least one significant event in a driver locus being necessary for its identification as a driver. Accounting for driver loci in which no fixation was observed improved results at low values of *T* (data not shown). Depending on what is desired to be learned from a system, and depending on the underlying dynamics of the system in question, the numerical values for parameters required for a given accuracy may vary substantially.

For the purposes of method development we have here considered a simplified model of a viral genome under constant selective pressure at each locus. However, given the caveats mentioned above, we suggest that the approach we present, with suitable modification, has the potential to be applied to a wide range of biological systems. While, as mentioned above, the use of genetic markers can be used to identify the fitness of subsets of a population (Lang *et al.* 2011), where a greater amount of sequence information is available, the effect of the genetic background on the development of individual alleles can be quantified. Even in systems for which a small number of mutations are observed, the core component of the method, of fitting trajectories that obey an effectively time-dependent model of selection to observed allele frequencies, can be applied.

While many simplifications were made in the application of the inference method presented here, the method has potential to be extended in several directions. Considering biological data, with allowance for synonymous and nonsynonymous mutations, the binary locus model used here could be extended. Replacement of the constant sampling time intervals and sampling depths with variable measures is easily implementable within the current framework.

More complex evolutionary scenarios could also be modeled. For example, while recombination decreases linkage between alleles, disrupting the driver–passenger paradigm considered here, it would not necessarily prevent application of the method. If the rate of recombination were low relative to the rate of sampling, estimates of linkage captured by haplotype sampling would still be accurate enough to provide a meaningful picture of linkage between polymorphisms until the next sample was taken, thereby allowing for improved discernment of selection in the system.

A larger challenge to the model is that of fitness effects that are epistatic (Weinreich *et al.* 2005), frequency and/or genuinely time dependent, reflecting an underlying fitness seascape (Mustonen and Lässig 2009) (as opposed to the effectively time-dependent selection considered here caused by linkage even if the underlying additive fitness landscape is static). While epistatic fitnesses for each pair of loci could easily be incorporated into the model, the multiplication of terms to be learned would provide a substantial challenge given any but the largest data set. Modeling of epistasis, therefore, would likely involve some further simplification. Supposing loci interacting through epistasis are not simultaneously polymorphic, selection coefficients could be determined on a trajectory, rather than at a locus level. The same remedy would also be applicable to time-dependent selection if the pressure were to stay roughly constant on the timescale of polymorphism lifetimes. Consistent changes in the fitness detected for trajectories at a given locus would then provide an indication of such effects. In general, we suggest that problems in applying the method to more complex systems arise more from the availability of data than from the theoretical difficulty of adapting the model given here.

## Acknowledgments

We thank Stephan Schiffels for advice regarding the implementation of the Wright–Fisher model and participants of the Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics (KITP) program on Microbial and Viral Evolution for discussions. We acknowledge the Wellcome Trust for support under grant 091747. This research was also supported in part by the National Science Foundation under grant NSF PHY05-51164 during a visit at the KITP (Santa Barbara, CA).

## Footnotes

Supporting information is available online at http://www.genetics.org/content/suppl/2011/09/07/genetics.111.133975.DC1.

- Received June 28, 2011.
- Accepted August 24, 2011.

- Copyright © 2011 by the Genetics Society of America

Available freely online through the author-supported open access option.