The distribution of mutational fitness effects (DMFE) is crucial to the evolutionary fate of quasispecies. In this article we analyze the effect of the DMFE on the dynamics of a large quasispecies by means of a phenotypic version of the classic Eigen's model that incorporates beneficial, neutral, deleterious, and lethal mutations. By parameterizing the model with available experimental data on the DMFE of Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) and Tobacco etch virus (TEV), we found that increasing mutation does not totally push the entire viral quasispecies towards deleterious or lethal regions of the phenotypic sequence space. The probability of finding regions in the parameter space of the general model that results in a quasispecies only composed by lethal phenotypes is extremely small at equilibrium and in transient times. The implications of our findings can be extended to other scenarios, such as lethal mutagenesis or genomically unstable cancer, where increased mutagenesis has been suggested as a potential therapy.
|Publication status||Published - 9 Apr 2014|