Neutral variation in the context of selection

Brian Charlesworth, Deborah Charlesworth

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In its initial formulation by Motoo Kimura, the neutral theory was concerned solely with the level of variability maintained by random genetic drift of selectively neutral mutation, and the rate of molecular evolution caused by the fixation of such mutations. The original theory considered events at a single genetic locus in isolation from the rest of the genome. It did not take long, however, for theoreticians to wonder whether selection at one or more loci might influence neutral variability at linked sites. Once DNA sequence variability could be studied, and especially when resequencing of whole genomes became possible, it became clear that patterns of neutral variability in genomes are affected by selection at linked sites, and that these patterns could advance our understanding of natural selection, and can be used to detect the action of selection in genomic regions, including selection much weaker than could be detected by direct measurements of the relative fitnesses of different genotypes. We outline the different types of processes that have been studied, in approximate order of their historical development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1359-1361
Number of pages3
JournalMolecular Biology and Evolution
Issue number6
Early online date4 Apr 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Apr 2018

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • linkage
  • Associative overdominance
  • hitchhiking
  • selective sweep
  • background selection


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