Recombination: The good, the bad and the variable

Jessica Stapley*, Philine G.D. Feulner, Susan E. Johnston, Anna W. Santure, Carole M. Smadja

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Recombination, the process by which DNA strands are broken and repaired, producing new combinations of alleles, occurs in nearly all multicellular organisms and has important implications for many evolutionary processes. The effects of recombination can be good, as it can facilitate adaptation, but also bad when it breaks apart beneficial combinations of alleles, and recombination is highly variable between taxa, species, individuals and across the genome. Understanding how and why recombination rate varies is a major challenge in biology. Most theoretical and empirical work has been devoted to understanding the role of recombination in the evolution of sex—comparing between sexual and asexual species or populations. How recombination rate evolves and what impact this has on evolutionary processes within sexually reproducing organisms has received much less attention. This Theme Issue focusses on how and why recombination rate varies in sexual species, and aims to coalesce knowledge of the molecular mechanisms governing recombination with our understanding of the evolutionary processes driving variation in recombination within and between species. By integrating these fields, we can identify important knowledge gaps and areas for future research, and pave the way for a more comprehensive understanding of how and why recombination rate varies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20170279
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume372
Issue number1736
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2017

Keywords

  • adaptation
  • crossing over
  • evolution
  • genetic linkage
  • genomics
  • meiosis

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