Although mutation rates are a key determinant of the rate of evolution they are difficult to measure precisely and global mutations rates (mutations per genome per generation) are often extrapolated from the per-base-pair mutation rate assuming that mutation rate is uniform across the genome. Using budding yeast, we describe an improved method for the accurate calculation of mutation rates based on the fluctuation assay. Our analysis suggests that the per-base-pair mutation rates at two genes differ significantly (3.80x10(-10) at URA3 and 6.44x10(-10) at CAN1) and we propose a definition for the effective target size of genes (the probability that a mutation inactivates the gene) that acknowledges that the mutation rate is nonuniform across the genome.
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