This is the abstract of a talk prepared for the Oeiras Mathematical and Computational Biology Workshop. June 20, 2003, Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência
Abstract: Mutation is the ultimate source of genetic variation. In asexual organisms, mutation is the only source of variation. Because the majority of mutations affecting fitness are deleterious, organisms have developed complex systems to minimize their mutation rate. Nevertheless high mutation rates are observed in pathogenic and commensal bacterial populations. Bacteria with such high mutation rates are called mutators.
In our group we are studying models of bacterial evolution with the following goals: a) measure, with great precision, the mutation rate and fitness effects of mutations; b) understand the evolution of bacteria with different mutation rates, under different evolutionary scenarios. Whenever possible these models are compared to results from experimental evolution studies obtained by our own group or by other groups.