The role of advantageous mutations in enhancing the evolution of a recombination modifier.

Matthew Hartfield, Sarah Otto, Peter Keightley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although the evolution of recombination is still a major problem in evolutionary genetics, recent theoretical studies have shown that recombination can evolve by breaking down interference ("Hill-Robertson effects") among multiple loci. This leads to selection on a recombination modifier in a population subject to recurrent deleterious mutation. Here, we use computer simulations to investigate the evolution of a recombination modifier under three different scenarios of recurrent mutation in a finite population: (1) mutations are deleterious only, (2) mutations are advantageous only, and (3) there is a mixture of deleterious and advantageous mutations. We also investigate how linkage disequilibrium, the strength of selection acting on a modifier, and effective population size change under the different scenarios. We observe that adding even a small number of advantageous mutations increases the fixation rate of modifiers that increase recombination, especially if the effects of deleterious mutations are weak. However, the strength of selection on a modifier is less than the summed strengths had there been deleterious mutations only and advantageous mutations only.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1153-1164
Number of pages23
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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