Evolution of genetic variability and the advantage of sex and recombination in changing environments

Buerger R (1999). Evolution of genetic variability and the advantage of sex and recombination in changing environments. Genetics 153 (2): 1055-1069.

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Abstract

The role of recombination and sexual reproduction in enhancing adaptation and population persistence in temporally varying environments is investigated on the basis of a quantitative-genetic multilocus model. Populations are finite, subject to density-dependent regulation with a finite growth rate, diploid, and either asexual or randomly mating and sexual with or without recombination. A quantitative trait is determined by a finite number of loci at which mutation generates genetic variability. The trait is under stabilizing selection with an optimum that either changes at a constant rate in one direction, exhibits periodic cycling, or fluctuates randomly. It is shown by Monte Carlo simulations that if the directional-selection component prevails, then freely recombining populations gain a substantial evolutionary advantage over nonrecombining and asexual populations that goes far beyond that recognized in previous studies. The reason is that in such populations, the genetic variance can increase substantially and thus enhance the rate of adaptation. In nonrecombining and asexual populations, no or much less increase of variance occurs. It is explored by simulation and mathematical analysis when, why, and by how much genetic variance increases in response to environmental change. In particular, it is elucidated how this change in genetic variance depends on the reproductive system, the population size, and the selective regime, and what the consequences for population persistence are.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Adaptive Dynamics Network (ADN)
Bibliographic Reference: Genetics; 153(2):1055-1069 (1 October 1999)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:10
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2016 12:12
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/5662

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