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Quasispecies theory in the context of population genetics

Wilke, Claus O. (2005) Quasispecies theory in the context of population genetics. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 5 . Art. No. 44. ISSN 1471-2148. PMCID PMC1208876.

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Background: A number of recent papers have cast doubt on the applicability of the quasispecies concept to virus evolution, and have argued that population genetics is a more appropriate framework to describe virus evolution than quasispecies theory. Results: I review the pertinent literature, and demonstrate for a number of cases that the quasispecies concept is equivalent to the concept of mutation-selection balance developed in population genetics, and that there is no disagreement between the population genetics of haploid, asexually-replicating organisms and quasispecies theory. Conclusion: Since quasispecies theory and mutation-selection balance are two sides of the same medal, the discussion about which is more appropriate to describe virus evolution is moot. In future work on virus evolution, we would do good to focus on the important questions, such as whether we can develop accurate, quantitative models of virus evolution, and to leave aside discussions about the relative merits of perfectly equivalent concepts.

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Wilke, Claus O.0000-0002-7470-9261
Additional Information:© 2005 Wilke; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at: I would like to thank Eddie Holmes, Santiago Elena, Igor Rouzine, and John Coffin for helpful comments on earlier versions of this manuscript. This work was in part supported by NIH grant AI 065960. Authors' contributions: COW carried out all aspects of this work.
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NIHAI 065960
PubMed Central ID:PMC1208876
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:WILbmceb05
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:1148
Deposited By: Archive Administrator
Deposited On:23 Dec 2005
Last Modified:02 Oct 2019 22:40

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