Levels of naturally occurring DNA polymorphism correlate with recombination rates in D. melanogaster

Nature. 1992 Apr 9;356(6369):519-20. doi: 10.1038/356519a0.


Two genomic regions with unusually low recombination rates in Drosophila melanogaster have normal levels of divergence but greatly reduced nucleotide diversity, apparently resulting from the fixation of advantageous mutations and the associated hitch-hiking effect. Here we show that for 20 gene regions from across the genome, the amount of nucleotide diversity in natural populations of D. melanogaster is positively correlated with the regional rate of recombination. This cannot be explained by variation in mutation rates and/or functional constraint, because we observe no correlation between recombination rates and DNA sequence divergence between D. melanogaster and its sibling species, D. simulans. We suggest that the correlation may result from genetic hitch-hiking associated with the fixation of advantageous mutants. Hitch-hiking thus seems to occur over a large fraction of the Drosophila genome and may constitute a major constraint on levels of genetic variation in nature.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Recombination, Genetic*