Evolutionary dynamics of restriction site avoidance

Long Qian, Edo Kussell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Molecular noise in bacterial restriction-modification systems can cause rare events of host DNA cleavage at restriction sites. Such noise-induced selective pressure may result in evolved sequences exhibiting restriction site avoidance. We identify a two-state regime of evolutionary dynamics, in which populations either develop avoidance or go extinct. Using perturbation theory, we show that equilibrium sequence statistics exhibit power-law scaling in the ratio of restriction strength to mutation rate. Noise levels comparable to mutation rates can be sufficient to evolve detectable avoidance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number158105
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number15
StatePublished - Apr 13 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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