Indexed on: 05 Mar '10Published on: 05 Mar '10Published in: Evolution
The rate at which a population adapts to its environment is a cornerstone of evolutionary theory, and recent experimental advances in microbial populations have renewed interest in predicting and testing this rate. Efforts to understand the adaptation rate theoretically are complicated by high mutation rates, to both beneficial and deleterious mutations, and by the fact that beneficial mutations compete with each other in asexual populations (clonal interference). Testable predictions must also include the effects of population bottlenecks, repeated reductions in population size imposed by the experimental protocol. In this contribution, we integrate previous work that addresses each of these issues, developing an overall prediction for the adaptation rate that includes: beneficial mutations with probabilistically distributed effects, deleterious mutations of arbitrary effect, population bottlenecks, and clonal interference.