Evolutionary dynamics and adaptive benefits of deleterious mutations in crop gene pools

Sangam L. Dwivedi, Pat Heslop-Harrison, Charles Spillane, Peter C. McKeown, David Edwards, Irwin Goldman, Rodomiro Ortiz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Mutations with deleterious consequences in nature may be conditionally deleterious in crop plants. That is, while some genetic variants may reduce fitness under wild conditions and be subject to purifying selection, they can be under positive selection in domesticates. Such deleterious alleles can be plant breeding targets, particularly for complex traits. The difficulty of distinguishing favorable from unfavorable variants reduces the power of selection, while favorable trait variation and heterosis may be attributable to deleterious alleles. Here, we review the roles of deleterious mutations in crop breeding and discuss how they can be used as a new avenue for crop improvement with emerging genomic tools, including HapMaps and pangenome analysis, aiding the identification, removal, or exploitation of deleterious mutations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685-697
Number of pages13
JournalTrends in Plant Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


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