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  • William Wells
Genome Biology20001:spotlight-20000814-01

Published: 14 August 2000


Local MaximumAverage FitnessFitness MaximumPhage PopulationOriginal Individual

In the 10 August Nature, Burch and Chao find that two populations of an RNA virus, derived from a single ancestral phage, repeatedly evolve towards different fitness maxima (Nature 2000, 406:625-628). The average fitness of one of the final phage populations is actually lower than that of the starting clone, suggesting that the original individual was at the peak of a local maximum of fitness. The existence of these different and non-overlapping solutions to maximizing fitness suggests that the evolvability of an RNA virus is determined by which advantageous genotypes are within its mutational neighborhood.



© BioMed Central Ltd 2000