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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Gene expression drives the evolution of dominance.

  • Author(s): Huber, Christian D
  • Durvasula, Arun
  • Hancock, Angela M
  • Lohmueller, Kirk E
  • et al.

Dominance is a fundamental concept in molecular genetics and has implications for understanding patterns of genetic variation, evolution, and complex traits. However, despite its importance, the degree of dominance in natural populations is poorly quantified. Here, we leverage multiple mating systems in natural populations of Arabidopsis to co-estimate the distribution of fitness effects and dominance coefficients of new amino acid changing mutations. We find that more deleterious mutations are more likely to be recessive than less deleterious mutations. Further, this pattern holds across gene categories, but varies with the connectivity and expression patterns of genes. Our work argues that dominance arises as a consequence of the functional importance of genes and their optimal expression levels.

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