CALL FOR PAPERS: Fitness Effects of Mutations

Guest Editors

Charles B. Fenster, Department of Biology and Microbiology, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD, USA
Courtney J. Murren, Department of Biology, College of Charleston, SC, USA

Theme & Objective

Mutation is often referred to as "the ultimate source of new variation" on which selection acts, yet mutation is not often the centerpiece of evolutionary considerations. With advances in genomics, molecular genetics and computational approaches, our ability to detect and evaluate the effects of mutation is occurring at a rapid rate. Such advances have demonstrated that mutation rates are variable by species, populations, areas of the chromosome and across different ecological environments. Data on distributions of mutational effects on phenotypes, particularly fitness phenotypes, are further enhanced by genomic, theoretical computational advances and taking these problems into ecological settings.

We have brought together ideas from theoretical, molecular, field, computational and various experimental approaches across organisms and systems, and seek additional submissions for this growing topical collection of already well-cited articles.

Students and Early Career Researchers are especially encouraged to submit to this Topical Collection.

Pre-submission enquiries are welcome.

Submission Details

  • Please follow the submission guidelines.
  • Please submit online via SNAPP and select article type “Topical Collection: Fitness Effects of Mutations”.

About the Guest Editors

Prof. Charles B. Fenster’s work is broadly conceptually driven, focused on the elucidation of evolutionary process, using plants as model organisms. Because of the broad perspective of his research, Prof. Fenster uses a combination of approaches incorporating statistical, ecological, quantitative genetic and molecular marker based techniques to address the questions of his research program. While some of his work reflects greenhouse or laboratory based studies, for the most part his studies are conducted in the wild, where the connection between genotype and fitness, as mediated by natural selection can be quantified. Although much of Prof. Fenster’s research focus is quantifying the input of genetic variation into the evolutionary process, albeit studied in the context of natural selection, there are many interesting details of natural selection that are relatively unknown, that if understood would provide much greater insight into the underpinnings of the evolutionary process. To examine the details of natural selection, Prof. Fenster uses flowers as models of adaptation. While the intellectual focus of the CB Fenster Lab is on understanding fundamental issues of evolutionary biology, our work also provides insight for important concerns in conservation genetics and invasive species biology. He begins by summarizing ongoing projects and finish with a description of past projects, and questions that remain from those completed projects. Prof. Fenster’s CV can be viewed here.

Prof. Courtney J. Murren is interested in how phenotypes of organisms are built and interact with the environment. This leads to employment of ecological, developmental, genetic and statistical tools to ask questions about the evolution of phenotypic form. She has examined systems from orchids, to invasive species, to Brassica species, and Mimulus species. Currently, Prof. Murren’s research focuses on natural accessions and mutant lines of Arabidopsis thaliana. Together with collaborators at the College of Charleston (Matt Rutter and Allan Strand) and partners 16 institutions across North America, we have built the unPAK network (undergraduates Phenotyping Arabidopsis Knockouts). Additionally, she has an active project examining the demography and ecology of natural populations in Spain for above and belowground traits. We are also conducting companion studies employing TDNA knockout mutants to examine the influence of mutation on phenotypic integration in shoots and roots. Prof. Murren’s CV can be viewed here.

Contact Information

Prof. Charles B. Fenster
Department of Biology and Microbiology
South Dakota State University
Brookings, SD

Prof. Courtney J. Murren
Department of Biology
College of Charleston
Charleston, SC

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