Gene expression drives the evolution of dominance

Christian D. Huber, Arun Durvasula, Angela M. Hancock, Kirk E. Lohmueller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2750
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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