Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 116
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    James, Ananthu 2016. Role of epistasis on the fixation probability of a non-mutator in an adapted asexual population. Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 407, p. 225.

    James, Ananthu and Jain, Kavita 2016. Fixation probability of rare nonmutator and evolution of mutation rates. Ecology and Evolution, Vol. 6, Issue. 3, p. 755.

    Stelkens, Rike B. Miller, Eric L. Greig, Duncan and Nielsen, Jens 2016. Asynchronous spore germination in isogenic natural isolates ofSaccharomyces paradoxus. FEMS Yeast Research, Vol. 16, Issue. 3, p. fow012.

    Birch, Michael and Bolker, Benjamin M. 2015. Evolutionary Stability of Minimal Mutation Rates in an Evo-epidemiological Model. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology, Vol. 77, Issue. 11, p. 1985.

    Geller, Ron Domingo-Calap, Pilar Cuevas, José M. Rossolillo, Paola Negroni, Matteo and Sanjuán, Rafael 2015. The external domains of the HIV-1 envelope are a mutational cold spot. Nature Communications, Vol. 6, p. 8571.

    Krašovec, Rok Belavkin, Roman V. Aston, John A. D. Channon, Alastair Aston, Elizabeth Rash, Bharat M. Kadirvel, Manikandan Forbes, Sarah and Knight, Christopher G. 2014. Mutation rate plasticity in rifampicin resistance depends on Escherichia coli cell–cell interactions. Nature Communications, Vol. 5,

    Li, Sheng-Jin Hua, Zheng-Shuang Huang, Li-Nan Li, Jie Shi, Su-Hua Chen, Lin-Xing Kuang, Jia-Liang Liu, Jun Hu, Min and Shu, Wen-Sheng 2014. Microbial communities evolve faster in extreme environments. Scientific Reports, Vol. 4, p. 6205.

    Ram, Y. and Hadany, L. 2014. Stress-induced mutagenesis and complex adaptation. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol. 281, Issue. 1792, p. 20141025.

    Raynes, Y and Sniegowski, P D 2014. Experimental evolution and the dynamics of genomic mutation rate modifiers. Heredity, Vol. 113, Issue. 5, p. 375.

    Rivoire, O. and Leibler, S. 2014. A model for the generation and transmission of variations in evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 111, Issue. 19, p. E1940.

    Ségurel, Laure Wyman, Minyoung J. and Przeworski, Molly 2014. Determinants of Mutation Rate Variation in the Human Germline. Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics, Vol. 15, Issue. 1, p. 47.

    Thomas, G. W. C. and Hahn, M. W. 2014. The Human Mutation Rate Is Increasing, Even As It Slows. Molecular Biology and Evolution, Vol. 31, Issue. 2, p. 253.

    Chen, X. and Zhang, J. 2013. No Gene-Specific Optimization of Mutation Rate in Escherichia coli. Molecular Biology and Evolution, Vol. 30, Issue. 7, p. 1559.

    Dapp, Michael J. Heineman, Richard H. and Mansky, Louis M. 2013. Interrelationship between HIV-1 Fitness and Mutation Rate. Journal of Molecular Biology, Vol. 425, Issue. 1, p. 41.

    Livnat, Adi 2013. Interaction-based evolution: how natural selection and nonrandom mutation work together. Biology Direct, Vol. 8, Issue. 1,

    Luan, Guodong Cai, Zhen Gong, Fuyu Dong, Hongjun Lin, Zhao Zhang, Yanping and Li, Yin 2013. Developing controllable hypermutable Clostridium cells through manipulating its methyl-directed mismatch repair system. Protein & Cell, Vol. 4, Issue. 11, p. 854.

    Martincorena, Iñigo and Luscombe, Nicholas M. 2013. Non-random mutation: The evolution of targeted hypermutation and hypomutation. BioEssays, Vol. 35, Issue. 2, p. 123.

    Müller, J. Hense, B.A. Fuchs, T.M. Utz, M. and Pötzsche, Ch. 2013. Bet-hedging in stochastically switching environments. Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 336, p. 144.

    Sniegowski, Paul and Raynes, Yevgeniy 2013. Mutation Rates: How Low Can You Go?. Current Biology, Vol. 23, Issue. 4, p. R147.

    Wielgoss, S. Barrick, J. E. Tenaillon, O. Wiser, M. J. Dittmar, W. J. Cruveiller, S. Chane-Woon-Ming, B. Medigue, C. Lenski, R. E. and Schneider, D. 2013. Mutation rate dynamics in a bacterial population reflect tension between adaptation and genetic load. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 110, Issue. 1, p. 222.


On the evolutionary adjustment of spontaneous mutation rates*

  • Motoo Kimura (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 April 2009

Evolutionary factors which tend to decrease the mutation rate through natural selection and those which tend to increase the mutation rate are discussed from the standpoint of population genetics. The author's theory of optimum mutation rate based on the principle of minimum genetic load is re-examined, assuming that mutation rate is adjusted in the course of evolution in such a way that the sum of mutational and substitutional load is minimized. Another hypothesis is also examined that only selection toward lowering the mutation rate is effective and the present mutation rate in each organism represents the physical or physiological limit that may be attained by natural selection.

The possibility cannot be excluded that the spontaneous mutation rate is near the minimum that may be attained under the present mode of organization of the genetic material, and at the same time is not very far from the optimum in the sense of minimizing the genetic load.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

J. F. Crow & M. Kimura (1965). Evloution in sexual and asexual populations. Am. Nat. 99, 439450.

J. B. S. Haldane (1937). The effect of variation on fitness. Am. Nat. 71, 337349.

M. Kimura (1960). Optimum mutation rate and degree of dominance as determined by the principle of minimum genetic load. J. Genet. 57, 2134.

H. J. Muller (1932). Some genetic aspects of sex. Am. Nat. 66, 118138.

H. J. Muller (1958). Evolution by mutation. Bull. Am. math. Soc. 64, 137160.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Genetics Research
  • ISSN: 0016-6723
  • EISSN: 1469-5073
  • URL: /core/journals/genetics-research
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *