The Role of Mutation Bias in Adaptive Evolution

Erik I. Svensson, David Berger

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Mutational input is the ultimate source of genetic variation, but mutations are not thought to affect the direction of adaptive evolution. Recently, critics of standard evolutionary theory have questioned the random and non-directional nature of mutations, claiming that the mutational process can be adaptive in its own right. We discuss here mutation bias in adaptive evolution. We find little support for mutation bias as an independent force in adaptive evolution, although it can interact with selection under conditions of small population size and when standing genetic variation is limited, entirely consistent with standard evolutionary theory. We further emphasize that natural selection can shape the phenotypic effects of mutations, giving the false impression that directed mutations are driving adaptive evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)422-434
Number of pages13
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number5
Early online date2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Evolutionary Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'The Role of Mutation Bias in Adaptive Evolution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this