Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

A general model for the evolution of recombination

  • N. H. Barton (a1)

A general representation of multilocus selection is extended to allow recombination to depend on genotype. The equations simplify if modifier alleles have small effects on recombination. The evolution of such modifiers only depends on how they alter recombination between the selected loci, and does not involve dominance in modifier effects. The net selection on modifiers can be found explicitly if epistasis is weak relative to recombination. This analysis shows that recombination can be favoured in two ways: because it impedes the response to epistasis which fluctuates in sign, or because it facilitates the response to directional selection. The first mechanism is implausible, because epistasis must change sign over periods of a few generations: faster or slower fluctuations favour reduced recombination. The second mechanism requires weak negative epistasis between favourable alleles, which may either be increasing, or held in check by mutation. The selection (si) on recombination modifiers depends on the reduction in additive variance of log (fitness) due to linkage disequilibria (υ1 < 0), and on non-additive variance in log (fitness) (V2, V3,.. epistasis between 2, 3.. loci). For unlinked loci and pairwise epistasis, si = − (υ1 + 4V2/3)δr, where δr is the average increase in recombination caused by the modifier. The approximations are checked against exact calculations for three loci, and against Charlesworth's analyses of mutation/selection balance (1990), and directional selection (1993). The analysis demonstrates a general relation between selection on recombination and observable components of fitness variation, which is open to experimental test.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

G. Bell , & J. Maynard Smith , (1986). Short term selection for recombination among mutually antagonistic species. Nature 328, 6668.

B. Charlesworth , & D. Charlesworth , (1985 a). Genetic variation in recombination in Drosophila. I. Responses to selection and preliminary genetic analysis. Heredity 54, 7183.

D. Charlesworth , M. T. Morgan , & B. Charlesworth , (1990). Inbreeding depression, genetic load, and the evolution of outcrossing rates in a multilocus system with no linkage. Evolution 44, 14691489.

I. Eshel , & M. W. Feldman , (1970). On the evolutionary effect of recombination. Theoretical Populations Biology 1, 88100.

W. J. Ewens , (1989). An interpretation and proof of the Fundamental Theorem of Natural Selection. Theoretical Populations Biology 36, 167180.

M. W. Feldman , F. B. Christiansen , & L. D. Brooks , (1980). Evolution of recombination in a constant environment. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 77, 48384841.

M. W. Feldman , & U. Liberman , (1986). An evolutionary reduction principle for genetic modifiers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 83, 48244827.

W. D. Hamilton , (1980). Sex vs non-sex vs parasite. Oikos 35, 282290.

K. Mather , (1943). Polygenic inheritance and natural selection. Biological Reviews 18, 3264.

J. Maynard Smith , (1976). What determines the rate of evolution? American Naturalist 110, 331338.

T. Mukai , (1977). Genetic variance for viability and linkage disequilibrium in natural populations of Drosophila melanogaster. In Measuring Selection in Natural Populations (ed. F. B. Christiansen , and T. M. Fenchel ), pp. 97112. Berlin: Springer Verlag.

S. Nee , (1989). Antagonistic coevolution and the evolution of genotypic randomisation. Journal of Theoretical Biology 140, 499518.

A. H. Sturtevant , & K. Mather , (1938). The interrelations of inversions, heterosis and recombination. American Naturalist 72, 447452.

M. Turelli , & N. H. Barton , (1990). Dynamics of polygenic characters under selection. Theoretical Population Biology 38, 157.

L. A. Zhivotovsky , M. W. Feldman , & F. B. Christiansen , (1994). Evolution of recombination among multiple selected loci: a generalized reduction principle. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 91, 10791083.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Genetics Research
  • ISSN: 0016-6723
  • EISSN: 1469-5073
  • URL: /core/journals/genetics-research
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 34 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 116 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 24th March 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.