Quantifying slow evolutionary dynamics in RNA fitness landscapes

Petr Šulc, Andreas Wagner, Olivier C. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We re-examine the evolutionary dynamics of RNA secondary structures under directional selection towards an optimum RNA structure. We find that the punctuated equilibria lead to a very slow approach to the optimum, following on average an inverse power of the evolutionary time. In addition, our study of the trajectories shows that the out-of-equilibrium effects due to the evolutionary process are very weak. In particular, the distribution of genotypes is close to that arising during equilibrium stabilizing selection. As a consequence, the evolutionary dynamics leave almost no measurable out-of-equilibrium trace, only the transition genotypes (close to the border between different periods of stasis) have atypical mutational properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1027-1040
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • RNA neutral networks
  • classification description
  • evolution
  • genotype
  • phenotype
  • slow relaxation
  • systems biology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Computer Science Applications


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