The nature of the forces affecting base composition is a key question in genome evolution. There is uncertainty as to whether differences in the GC contents of non-coding sequences reflect differences in mutational bias, or in the intensity of selection or biased gene conversion. We have used a polymorphism dataset for non-coding sequences on the X chromosome of Drosophila simulans to examine this question. The proportion of GC --> AT versus AT --> GC polymorphic mutations in a locus is correlated with its GC content. This implies the action of forces that favour GC over AT base pairs, which are apparently strongest in GC-rich sequences.
- GC content
- biased gene conversion