A central question in genetics and evolution is the extent to which the outcomes of mutations change depending on the genetic context in which they occur 1–3 . Pairwise interactions between mutations have been systematically mapped within 4–18 and between 19 genes, and have been shown to contribute substantially to phenotypic variation among individuals 20 . However, the extent to which genetic interactions themselves are stable or dynamic across genotypes is unclear 21, 22 . Here we quantify more than 45,000 genetic interactions between the same 87 pairs of mutations across more than 500 closely related genotypes of a yeast tRNA. Notably, all pairs of mutations interacted in at least 9% of genetic backgrounds and all pairs switched from interacting positively to interacting negatively in different genotypes (false discovery rate < 0.1). Higher-order interactions are also abundant and dynamic across genotypes. The epistasis in this tRNA means that all individual mutations switch from detrimental to beneficial, even in closely related genotypes. As a consequence, accurate genetic prediction requires mutation effects to be measured across different genetic backgrounds and the use of higher-order epistatic terms.
Nature – Springer Journals
Published: May 30, 2018
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