Translational selection frequently overcomes genetic drift in shaping synonymous codon usage patterns in vertebrates.

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Synonymous codon usage patterns are shaped by a balance between mutation, drift, and natural selection. To date, detection of translational selection in vertebrates has proven to be a challenging task, obscured by small long-term effective population sizes in larger animals and the existence of isochores in some species. The consensus is that, in such species, natural selection is either completely ineffective at overcoming mutational pressures and genetic drift or perhaps is effective but so weak that it is not detectable. The aim of this research is to understand the interplay between mutation, selection, and genetic drift in vertebrates. We observe that although variation in mutational bias is undoubtedly the dominant force influencing codon usage, translational selection acts as a weak additional factor influencing synonymous codon usage. These observations indicate that translational selection is a widespread phenomenon in vertebrates and is not limited to a few species.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Biology and Evolution
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013

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