Understanding how genetic variation is generated and how selection shapes mutation rates over evolutionary time requires knowledge of the factors influencing mutation and its effects on quantitative traits. We explore the impact of two factors, genomic background and generation time, on deleterious mutation in Daphnia pulicaria, a cyclically parthenogenic aquatic microcrustacean, using parallel mutation-accumulation experiments. The deleterious mutational properties of life-history characters for individuals from two different populations, and for individuals maintained at two different generation times, were quantified and compared. Mutational properties varied between populations, especially for clutch size, suggesting that genomic background influences mutational properties for some characters. Generation time was found to have a greater effect on mutational properties, with higher per-generation deleterious mutation rates in lines with longer generation times. These results suggest that differences in genetic architecture among populations and species may be explained in part by demographic features that significantly influence generation time and therefore the rate of mutation.
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