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The relation between recombination rate and patterns of molecular evolution and variation in Drosophila melanogaster: Recombination and the efficiency of selection

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    Rights statement: © The Author(s) 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact journals.permissions@oup.com

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Original languageEnglish
Article numbermsu056
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalMolecular Biology and Evolution
Early online date30 Jan 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Abstract

Genetic recombination associated with sexual reproduction increases the efficiency of natural selection by reducing the strength of Hill-Robertson interference. Such interference can be caused either by selective sweeps of positively selected alleles, or by background selection against deleterious mutations. Its consequences can be studied by comparing patterns of molecular evolution and variation in genomic regions with different rates of crossing over. We carried out a comprehensive study of the benefits of recombination in Drosophila melanogaster, both by contrasting five independent genomic regions that lack crossing over with the rest of the genome and by comparing regions with different rates of crossing over, using data on DNA sequence polymorphisms from an African population that is geographically close to the putatively ancestral population for the species, and on sequence divergence from a related species. We observed reductions in sequence diversity in non-crossover regions that are inconsistent with the effects of hard selective sweeps in the absence of recombination. Overall, the observed patterns suggest that the recombination rate experienced by a gene is positively related to an increase in the efficiency of both positive and purifying selection. The results are consistent with a background selection model with interference among selected sites in non-crossover regions, and joint effects of background selection, selective sweeps and a past population expansion on variability in regions of the genome that experience crossing over. In such crossover regions, the X chromosome exhibits a higher rate of adaptive protein sequence evolution than the autosomes, implying a Faster-X effect.

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