Dissecting Genomic Determinants of Positive Selection with an Evolution-Guided Regression Model

Yi Fei Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

In evolutionary genomics, it is fundamentally important to understand how characteristics of genomic sequences, such as gene expression level, determine the rate of adaptive evolution. While numerous statistical methods, such as the McDonald-Kreitman (MK) test, are available to examine the association between genomic features and the rate of adaptation, we currently lack a statistical approach to disentangle the independent effect of a genomic feature from the effects of other correlated genomic features. To address this problem, I present a novel statistical model, the MK regression, which augments the MK test with a generalized linear model. Analogous to the classical multiple regression model, the MK regression can analyze multiple genomic features simultaneously to infer the independent effect of a genomic feature, holding constant all other genomic features. Using the MK regression, I identify numerous genomic features driving positive selection in chimpanzees. These features include well-known ones, such as local mutation rate, residue exposure level, tissue specificity, and immune genes, as well as new features not previously reported, such as gene expression level and metabolic genes. In particular, I show that highly expressed genes may have a higher adaptation rate than their weakly expressed counterparts, even though a higher expression level may impose stronger negative selection. Also, I show that metabolic genes may have a higher adaptation rate than their nonmetabolic counterparts, possibly due to recent changes in diet in primate evolution. Overall, the MK regression is a powerful approach to elucidate the genomic basis of adaptation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbermsab291
JournalMolecular biology and evolution
Volume39
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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