Genetical Research

Migration versus mutation in the evolution of recombination under multilocus selection

a1 Vavilov Institute of General Genetics, Russian Academy of Sciences, 3 Gubkin Street, Moscow 117809, Russia
a2 Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA


We use modifier theory to compare the evolution of recombination under mutation–selection and migration–selection balance models. Recombination between loosely linked loci subject to weak multilocus selection is controlled by the genotype at a selectively neutral modifier locus. We show that the success of a new modifier depends on the sign and amount of epistasis as well as on the linkage of the modifier locus to the loci under selection. With both migration and mutation, for recombination to increase requires negative (synergistic) epistasis. When epistasis is sufficiently weak, increased recombination is always favoured under mutation–selection balance and never under migration–selection balance. With stronger negative epistasis, there exists a critical recombination value. In this case, a recombination-increasing allele invades the population under mutation–selection balance if its recombination rate with the major loci is less than the critical recombination value, whereas with weak migration it must be above this value. These results are the same for haploid and diploid populations.

(Received December 12 1996)
(Revised August 15 1997)
(Revised December 20 1997)

c1 Corresponding author.