Deleterious mutations and genetic variation for flower size in Mimulus guttatus.
Mimulus guttatus is a wildflower that exhibits substantial genetic variation in flower size. Here, we test the hypothesis that this variation is caused by deleterious mutations maintained through mutation-selection balance. The deleterious-mutation model predicts that rare, partially recessive alleles will be the primary source of variation. We test this prediction by measuring the change in the mean flower size (deltaM) and the directional dominance of flower size (deltaB) within a selection experiment. If variation is due to rare (partially) recessive alleles, deltaB/deltaM is expected to be positive and exceed one. However, we obtain negative values for deltaB/deltaM from three independent selection lines. This result is statistically inconsistent with the deleterious-mutation model.
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