PT - JOURNAL ARTICLE
AU - Gordo, Isabel
AU - Charlesworth, Brian
TI - The Degeneration of Asexual Haploid Populations and the Speed of Muller's Ratchet
DP - 2000 Mar 01
TA - Genetics
PG - 1379--1387
VI - 154
IP - 3
4099 - http://www.genetics.org/content/154/3/1379.short
4100 - http://www.genetics.org/content/154/3/1379.full
SO - Genetics2000 Mar 01; 154
AB - The accumulation of deleterious mutations due to the process known as Muller's ratchet can lead to the degeneration of nonrecombining populations. We present an analytical approximation for the rate at which this process is expected to occur in a haploid population. The approximation is based on a diffusion equation and is valid when N exp(−u/s) ⪢ 1, where N is the population size, u is the rate at which deleterious mutations occur, and s is the effect of each mutation on fitness. Simulation results are presented to show that the approximation estimates the rate of the process better than previous approximations for values of mutation rates and selection coefficients that are compatible with the biological data. Under certain conditions, the ratchet can turn at a biologically significant rate when the deterministic equilibrium number of individuals free of mutations is substantially >100. The relevance of this process for the degeneration of Y or neo-Y chromosomes is discussed.