Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Genetics. 2000 Sep;156(1):423-38.

The evolution of recombination in a heterogeneous environment.

Author information

  • 1Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4, Canada.


Most models describing the evolution of recombination have focused on the case of a single population, implicitly assuming that all individuals are equally likely to mate and that spatial heterogeneity in selection is absent. In these models, the evolution of recombination is driven by linkage disequilibria generated either by epistatic selection or drift. Models based on epistatic selection show that recombination can be favored if epistasis is negative and weak compared to directional selection and if the recombination modifier locus is tightly linked to the selected loci. In this article, we examine the joint effects of spatial heterogeneity in selection and epistasis on the evolution of recombination. In a model with two patches, each subject to different selection regimes, we consider the cases of mutation-selection and migration-selection balance as well as the spread of beneficial alleles. We find that including spatial heterogeneity extends the range of epistasis over which recombination can be favored. Indeed, recombination can be favored without epistasis, with negative and even with positive epistasis depending on environmental circumstances. The selection pressure acting on recombination-modifier loci is often much stronger with spatial heterogeneity, and even loosely linked modifiers and free linkage may evolve. In each case, predicting whether recombination is favored requires knowledge of both the type of environmental heterogeneity and epistasis, as none of these factors alone is sufficient to predict the outcome.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk