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Mutation-Selection Balance with Stochastic Selection

The Genetics Society of America
Publication Date
  • Investigations
  • Biology
  • Mathematics


Diffusion theory has been used to analyze a model of mutation-selection balance in which the selection process is assumed to be stochastic in time. The limiting outcome of the mutation-stochastic selection process is determined qualitatively by the geometric mean fitnesses of the genotypes, and the conditions for fixation or polymorphism are similar to those that determine the outcome of the mutation-selection process when selection is constant. However, in the case of a completely recessive allele, detailed numerical study of the polymorphism associated with stochastic selection has shown that the average allele frequency maintained is greater than the equilibrium frequency expected when selection is constant, even when the geometric mean fitness of the recessive homozygotes is identical in the stochastic and deterministic models. Thus, allele frequencies in natural populations that are too high to be plausibly explained by a balance between mutation and constant selection can be accounted for if selection is stochastic.

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