Genetical Research

Research Article

Selection for recombination in a polygenic model – the mechanism

J. Maynard Smitha1

a1 School of Biological Sciences, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9QG


A polygenic model has been simulated in order to reveal the process whereby selection in an infinite population can lead to an increase in the frequency of alleles causing higher rates of recombination (CH alleles). Directional selection generates repulsion linkage disequilibrium (+ − + −), which is less strong in CH gametes (gametes carrying CH alleles). In consequence, CH gametes contribute greater phenotypic variability, and therefore respond more to directional selection: that is, they accumulate more selectively favoured alleles. CH alleles then increase in frequency by hitch-hiking. In contrast, normalizing selection, or frequent changes in the direction of selection, favour alleles for a low recombination rate.

(Received August 14 1987)

(Revised September 03 1987)