Recombination dramatically speeds up evolution of finite populations

Phys Rev Lett. 2005 Mar 11;94(9):098102. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.94.098102. Epub 2005 Mar 9.


We study the role of recombination, in the form of bacterial transformation, in speeding up Darwinian evolution. This is done by adding a new process to a previously studied Markov model of evolution on a smooth fitness landscape; this new process allows alleles to be exchanged with those in the surrounding medium. Our results, both numerical and analytic, indicate that, for a wide range of intermediate population sizes, recombination dramatically speeds up the rate of evolutionary advance.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Recombination, Genetic / genetics*
  • Transformation, Bacterial / genetics