Date of Award

Fall 2021

Document Type

Open Access Thesis


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Jeffry Dudycha


While mutations are almost universally considered to be more often deleterious than beneficial, their precise interactions between different populations and individual lines have been largely overlooked. Using mutation accumulation lines of four clones of obligately asexual Daphnia pulex, this research is intended to investigate the degree to which spontaneous mutation would affect fitness-related traits after roughly 100 generations. The expectation was that there would be a visible decrease in juvenile specific growth rate, the surrogate measurement used for fitness, across all four clones due to the deleterious nature of mutation in a selection free environment. Through measuring birth mass in one food environment and juvenile specific growth rate in two food environments, this research shows that while on average, mutations do show a largely deleterious trend, there are variations in intensity of this effect as well as even some instances of beneficial effects when looking at individual traits. Two clones showed the expected result of a significant (p

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Biology Commons