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Data from: Abiotic stress does not magnify the deleterious effects of spontaneous mutations


Andrew, Jacob R. et al. (2015), Data from: Abiotic stress does not magnify the deleterious effects of spontaneous mutations, Dryad, Dataset,


Although the effects of deleterious alleles often are predicted to be greater in stressful environments, there is no theoretical basis for this prediction and the empirical evidence is mixed. Here we characterized the effects of three types of abiotic stress (thermal, oxidative and hyperosmotic) on two sets of nematode (Caenorhabditis elegans) mutation accumulation (MA) lines that differ by threefold in fitness. We compared the survival and egg-to-adult viability between environments (benign and stressful) and between fitness categories (high-fitness MA, low-fitness MA). If the environment and mutation load have synergistic effects on trait means, then the difference between the high and low-fitness MA lines should be larger in stressful environments. Although the stress treatments consistently decreased survival and/or viability, we did not detect significant interactions between fitness categories and environment types. In contrast, we did find consistent evidence for synergistic effects on (micro)environmental variation. The lack of signal in trait means likely reflects the very low starting fitness of some low-fitness MA lines, the potential for cross-stress responses and the context dependence of mutational effects. In addition, the large increases in the environmental variance in the stressful environments may have masked small changes in trait means. These results do not provide evidence for synergism between mutation and stress.

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