Causes of molecular convergence and parallelism in protein evolution

Jay F. Storz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

175 Scopus citations


To what extent is the convergent evolution of protein function attributable to convergent or parallel changes at the amino acid level? The mutations that contribute to adaptive protein evolution may represent a biased subset of all possible beneficial mutations owing to mutation bias and/or variation in the magnitude of deleterious pleiotropy. A key finding is that the fitness effects of amino acid mutations are often conditional on genetic background. This context dependence (epistasis) can reduce the probability of convergence and parallelism because it reduces the number of possible mutations that are unconditionally acceptable in divergent genetic backgrounds. Here, I review factors that influence the probability of replicated evolution at the molecular level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-250
Number of pages12
JournalNature Reviews Genetics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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