Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Muller’s Ratchet

Proposal by H. J. Muller in 1964 that the genetic load in populations and hence in species increases inevitably as deleterious mutations are not removed from a population or species owing to overdominance and other phenomena, and that load thus increases to a theoretical limit known as the lethal equivalent. The name Muller’s ratchet was applied by J. Felsenstein in 1974. Aka the cost of selection.

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