Equilibrium distribution of mutators in the single fitness peak model

Emmanuel Tannenbaum, Eric J. Deeds, Eugene I. Shakhnovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


This Letter develops an analytically tractable model for determining the equilibrium distribution of mismatch repair deficient strains in unicellular populations. The approach is based on the single fitness peak model, which has been used in Eigen’s quasispecies equations in order to understand various aspects of evolutionary dynamics. As with the quasispecies model, our model for mutator-nonmutator equilibrium undergoes a phase transition in the limit of infinite sequence length. This “repair catastrophe” occurs at a critical repair error probability of [Formula presented], where [Formula presented] denotes the length of the genome controlling viability, while [Formula presented] denotes the overall length of the genome. The repair catastrophe therefore occurs when the repair error probability exceeds the fraction of deleterious mutations. Our model also gives a quantitative estimate for the equilibrium fraction of mutators in Escherichia coli.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number13
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Equilibrium distribution of mutators in the single fitness peak model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this