The effects of weak selection on neutral diversity at linked sites

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The effects of selection on variability at linked sites have an important influence on levels and patterns of within-population variation across the genome. Most theoretical models of these effects have assumed that selection is sufficiently strong that allele frequency changes at the loci concerned are largely deterministic. These models have led to the conclusion that directional selection for selectively favorable mutations, or against recurrent deleterious mutations, reduces nucleotide site diversity at linked neutral sites. Recent work has shown, however, that fixations of weakly selected mutations, accompanied by significant stochastic changes in allele frequencies, can sometimes cause higher diversity at linked sites when compared with the effects of fixations of neutral mutations. This study extends this work by deriving approximate expressions for the mean conditional times to fixation and loss of mutations subject to selection, and analyzing the conditions under which selection increases rather than reduces these times. Simulations are used to examine the relations between diversity at a neutral site and the fixation and loss times of mutations at a linked site that is subject to selection. It is shown that the long-term level of neutral diversity can be increased over the purely neutral value by recurrent fixations and losses of linked, weakly selected dominant or partially dominant favorable mutations, or linked recessive or partially recessive deleterious mutations. The results are used to examine the conditions under which associative overdominance, as opposed to background selection, is likely to operate.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberiyac027
Number of pages18
Issue number1
Early online date12 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • associative overdominance
  • background selection
  • fixation times
  • loss times
  • neutral variability


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