A quantitative analysis shows that epistasis — the fact that genetic background determines whether a mutation is beneficial, deleterious or inconsequential — is the main factor regulating evolution at the level of proteins. See Letter p.535
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Breen, M. S., Kemena, C., Vlasov, P. K., Notredame, C. & Kondrashov, F. A. Nature 490, 535–538 (2012).
Templeton, A. R. in Epistasis and the Evolutionary Process (eds Wolf, J. B., Brodie, E. D. III & Wade, M. J.) 41–57 (Oxford Univ. Press, 2000).
Fisher, R. A. The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection (Clarendon, 1930).
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Wagner, G. The inner life of proteins. Nature 490, 493–494 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/490493a