GS3: Mutational Biases and Adaptation

Date: August 2, 2022           

Time: 12:00 - 20:00 UTC

Online Program: HERE (please use the "Date" menu dropdown to select the August 2 event).

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Different types of mutations vary in their rate of occurrence, a phenomenon known as mutation bias. Such biases are well understood to exert directional influences on patterns of neutral genetic variation. However, mounting evidence also supports a role for mutation bias in guiding the direction of adaptive evolution. Theoretical modeling has shown that adaptive evolution can enrich for mutationally-favored but selectively sub-optimal alleles, and recent empirical studies have found biases among documented adaptive substitutions consistent with these theoretical predictions. In particular, these studies have shown that mutation types favored by a handful of specific biases, such as transition-transversion bias and CpG hotspots, are also statistically overrepresented among adaptive amino acid substitutions. However, a number of key questions remain unanswered regarding how mutation and selection interact during adaptive evolution. For instance, the roles of different types of mutation bias in adaptation are not well understood. These include context-dependent biases involving flanking nucleotides, spatial heterogeneity in mutation rates across the genome, idiosyncratic mutation signatures driven by either endogenous processes or external environmental exposures, and heritable variation in mutation biases as often observed in mutator strains or even in different human populations. This symposium will showcase recent advances in understanding the complex interplay between mutation and selection in shaping molecular adaptation, and will include contributions from a wide array of systems including experimental evolution, protein evolution, parallel adaptation and evolutionary prediction, evolution of drug and pesticide resistance, and cancer.

Invited Speakers:
Deepa Agashe (National Centre for Biological Sciences/Tata Institute of Fundamental Research), Alejandro Couce (Polytechnic Univ of Madrid)

James Horton (Univ of Bath, UK) and David McCandlish (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, USA)

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