Journal Article

Estimation of the Spontaneous Mutation Rate in <i>Heliconius melpomene</i>

Peter D. Keightley, Ana Pinharanda, Rob W. Ness, Fraser Simpson, Kanchon K. Dasmahapatra, James Mallet, John W. Davey and Chris D. Jiggins

in Molecular Biology and Evolution

Published on behalf of Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution

Volume 32, issue 1, pages 239-243
Published in print January 2015 | ISSN: 0737-4038
Published online November 2014 | e-ISSN: 1537-1719 | DOI:

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Molecular and Cell Biology


Show Summary Details


We estimated the spontaneous mutation rate in Heliconius melpomene by genome sequencing of a pair of parents and 30 of their offspring, based on the ratio of number of de novo heterozygotes to the number of callable site-individuals. We detected nine new mutations, each one affecting a single site in a single offspring. This yields an estimated mutation rate of 2.9 × 10−9 (95% confidence interval, 1.3 × 10−9–5.5 × 10−9), which is similar to recent estimates in Drosophila melanogaster, the only other insect species in which the mutation rate has been directly estimated. We infer that recent effective population size of H. melpomene is about 2 million, a substantially lower value than its census size, suggesting a role for natural selection reducing diversity. We estimate that H. melpomene diverged from its Müllerian comimic H. erato about 6 Ma, a somewhat later date than estimates based on a local molecular clock.

Keywords: mutation; Heliconius; genome sequencing

Journal Article.  2927 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology ; Molecular and Cell Biology

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.