Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 60
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    DeGiorgio, Michael Huber, Christian D. Hubisz, Melissa J. Hellmann, Ines and Nielsen, Rasmus 2016. SweepFinder2: increased sensitivity, robustness and flexibility. Bioinformatics, Vol. 32, Issue. 12, p. 1895.

    Ellegren, Hans and Galtier, Nicolas 2016. Determinants of genetic diversity. Nature Reviews Genetics, Vol. 17, Issue. 7, p. 422.

    Huber, Christian D. DeGiorgio, Michael Hellmann, Ines and Nielsen, Rasmus 2016. Detecting recent selective sweeps while controlling for mutation rate and background selection. Molecular Ecology, Vol. 25, Issue. 1, p. 142.

    Huber, C.D. and Lohmueller, K.E. 2016. Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Biology.

    McGaughran, Angela Rödelsperger, Christian Grimm, Dominik G. Meyer, Jan M. Moreno, Eduardo Morgan, Katy Leaver, Mark Serobyan, Vahan Rakitsch, Barbara Borgwardt, Karsten M. and Sommer, Ralf J. 2016. Genomic Profiles of Diversification and Genotype–Phenotype Association in Island Nematode Lineages. Molecular Biology and Evolution, p. msw093.

    Stevison, Laurie S. Woerner, August E. Kidd, Jeffrey M. Kelley, Joanna L. Veeramah, Krishna R. McManus, Kimberly F. Bustamante, Carlos D. Hammer, Michael F. and Wall, Jeffrey D. 2016. The Time Scale of Recombination Rate Evolution in Great Apes. Molecular Biology and Evolution, Vol. 33, Issue. 4, p. 928.

    Wang, J Santiago, E and Caballero, A 2016. Prediction and estimation of effective population size. Heredity,

    Deinum, Eva E. Halligan, Daniel L. Ness, Rob W. Zhang, Yao-Hua Cong, Lin Zhang, Jian-Xu and Keightley, Peter D. 2015. Recent Evolution inRattus norvegicusIs Shaped by Declining Effective Population Size. Molecular Biology and Evolution, Vol. 32, Issue. 10, p. 2547.

    Ziolkowski, Piotr A Berchowitz, Luke E Lambing, Christophe Yelina, Nataliya E Zhao, Xiaohui Kelly, Krystyna A Choi, Kyuha Ziolkowska, Liliana June, Viviana Sanchez-Moran, Eugenio Franklin, Chris Copenhaver, Gregory P and Henderson, Ian R 2015. Juxtaposition of heterozygous and homozygous regions causes reciprocal crossover remodelling via interference during Arabidopsis meiosis. eLife, Vol. 4,

    Cruickshank, Tami E. and Hahn, Matthew W. 2014. Reanalysis suggests that genomic islands of speciation are due to reduced diversity, not reduced gene flow. Molecular Ecology, Vol. 23, Issue. 13, p. 3133.

    Kamran-Disfani, A. and Agrawal, A. F. 2014. Selfing, adaptation and background selection in finite populations. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, Vol. 27, Issue. 7, p. 1360.

    Slotte, T. 2014. The impact of linked selection on plant genomic variation. Briefings in Functional Genomics, Vol. 13, Issue. 4, p. 268.

    Turissini, D. A. Gamez, S. and White, B. J. 2014. Genome-Wide Patterns of Polymorphism in an Inbred Line of the African Malaria Mosquito Anopheles gambiae. Genome Biology and Evolution, Vol. 6, Issue. 11, p. 3094.

    Charlesworth, B. 2013. Background Selection 20 Years on: The Wilhelmine E. Key 2012 Invitational Lecture. Journal of Heredity, Vol. 104, Issue. 2, p. 161.

    Ezawa, Kiyoshi Landan, Giddy and Graur, Dan 2013. Detecting negative selection on recurrent mutations using gene genealogy. BMC Genetics, Vol. 14, Issue. 1, p. 37.

    Korol, Abraham B. 2013. Encyclopedia of Biodiversity.

    Neher, R. A. Kessinger, T. A. and Shraiman, B. I. 2013. Coalescence and genetic diversity in sexual populations under selection. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 110, Issue. 39, p. 15836.

    Roesti, Marius Moser, Dario and Berner, Daniel 2013. Recombination in the threespine stickleback genome-patterns and consequences. Molecular Ecology, Vol. 22, Issue. 11, p. 3014.

    Zeng, K 2013. A coalescent model of background selection with recombination, demography and variation in selection coefficients. Heredity, Vol. 110, Issue. 4, p. 363.

    Desai, Michael M. Nicolaisen, Lauren E. Walczak, Aleksandra M. and Plotkin, Joshua B. 2012. The structure of allelic diversity in the presence of purifying selection. Theoretical Population Biology, Vol. 81, Issue. 2, p. 144.


The effect of recombination on background selection*

  • Magnus Nordborg (a1), Brian Charlesworth (a1) and Deborah Charlesworth (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 April 2009

An approximate equation is derived, which predicts the effect on variability at a neutral locus of background selection due to a set of partly linked deleterious mutations. Random mating, multiplicative fitnesses, and sufficiently large population size that the selected loci are in mutation/selection equilibrium are assumed. Given these assumptions, the equation is valid for an arbitrary genetic map, and for an arbitrary distribution of selection coefficients across loci. Monte Carlo computer simulations show that the formula performs well for small population sizes under a wide range of conditions, and even seems to apply when there are epistatic fitness interactions among the selected loci. Failure occurred only with very weak selection and tight linkage. The formula is shown to imply that weakly selected mutations are more likely than strongly selected mutations to produce regional patterning of variability along a chromosome in response to local variation in recombination rates. Loci at the extreme tip of a chromosome experience a smaller effect of background selection than loci closer to the centre. It is shown that background selection can produce a considerable overall reduction in variation in organisms with small numbers of chromosomes and short maps, such as Drosophila. Large overall effects are less likely in species with higher levels of genetic recombination, such as mammals, although local reductions in regions of reduced recombination might be detectable.

Corresponding author
Corresponding author.
Hide All

This paper is dedicated to Richard Lewontin on the occasion of his 65th birthday.

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.

S. Ahn , & S. D. Tanksley , (1993). Comparative linkage maps of the rice and maize genomes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA90, 79807984.

C. F. Aquadro , D. J. Begun , & E. C. Kindahl , (1994). Selection, recombination, and DNA polymorphism in Drosophila. In Non-Neutral Evolution: Theories and Molecular Data (ed. G. B. Golding ). pp. 4656. London: Chapman and Hall.

A. P. Bird , (1995). Gene number, noise reduction and biological complexity. Trends in Genetics 11, 77117.

C. W. Birky Jr, & J. B. Walsh , (1988). Effects of linkage on rates of molecular evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA85, 64146418.

B. Charlesworth , D. Charlesworth , & M. T. Morgan , (1990). Genetic loads and estimates of mutation rates in highly inbred plant populations. Nature 347, 380382.

D. Charlesworth , E. E. Lyons , & L. B. Litchfield , (1994). Inbreeding depression in two highly inbreeding populations of Leavenworthia. Proceedings of the Royal Society, London, B258, 209214.

J. F. Crow , (1970). Genetic loads and the cost of natural selection. In Mathematical Topics in Population Genetics (ed. K. Kojima ). pp. 128177. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.

M. W. Feldman , F. B. Christiansen , & L. D. Brooks , (1980). Evolution of recombination in a constant environment. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA77, 48384841.

J. H. Gillespie , (1994). Alternatives to the neutral theory. In Non-Neutral Evolution: Theories and Molecular Data (ed. G. B. Golding ). pp. 117. London: Chapman and Hall.

J. B. S. Haldane , (1927). A mathematical theory of natural and artifical selection. Part V. Selection and mutation. Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society 23, 838844.

R. R. Hudson , (1994). How can the low levels of Drosophila sequence variation in regions of the genome with low levels of recombination be explained?. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA91, 68156818.

R. R. Hudson , & N. L. Kaplan , (1994). Gene trees with background selection. In Non-Neutral Evolution: Theories and Molecular Data (ed. G. B. Golding ). pp. 140153. New York: Chapman & Hall.

M. O. Johnston , & D. J. Schoen , (1995). Mutation rates and dominance levels of genes affecting total fitness in two angiosperm species. Science 267, 226229.

M. Kimura , & T. Ohta , (1971). Theoretical Aspects of Population Genetics. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

A. S. Kondrashov , (1988). Deleterious mutations and the evolution of sexual reproduction. Nature 336, 435440.

A. S. Kondrashov , & J. F. Crow , (1993). A molecular approach to estimating the human deleterious mutation rate. Human Mutation 2, 229234.

D. D. Kosambi , (1944). The estimation of map distance from recombination values. Annals of Eugenics 12, 172175.

R. Lande , (1994). Risk of population extinction from fixation of new deleterious mutations. Evolution 48, 14601469.

N. E. Morton , (1991). Parameters of the human genome. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA88, 74747476.

M. Nei , (1987). Molecular Evolutionary Genetics. New York: Columbia University Press.

NIH/CEPH Collaborative Mapping Group (1992). A comprehensive genetic linkage map of the human genome. Science 258, 6786.

W. Stephan , T. H. E. Wiehe , & M. W. Lenz , (1992). The effect of strongly selected substitutions on neutral polymorphism: analytical results based on diffusion theory. Theoretical Population Biology 41, 237254.

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? *