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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Apr 10;104(15):6266-71. Epub 2007 Apr 3.

Complete genetic linkage can subvert natural selection.

Author information

  • 1Santa Fe Institute, 1399 Hyde Park Road, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA. pgerrish@unm.edu

Abstract

The intricate adjustment of organisms to their environment demonstrates the effectiveness of natural selection. But Darwin himself recognized that certain biological features could limit this effectiveness, features that generally reduce the efficiency of natural selection or yield suboptimal adaptation. Genetic linkage is known to be one such feature, and here we show theoretically that it can introduce a more sinister flaw: when there is complete linkage between loci affecting fitness and loci affecting mutation rate, positive natural selection and recurrent mutation can drive mutation rates in an adapting population to intolerable levels. We discuss potential implications of this finding for the early establishment of recombination, the evolutionary fate of asexual populations, and immunological clearance of clonal pathogens.

PMID:
17405865
PMCID:
PMC1851075
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.0607280104
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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