The relations between recombination rate and patterns of molecular variation and evolution in Drosophila

Annu Rev Genet. 2014;48:383-403. doi: 10.1146/annurev-genet-120213-092525. Epub 2014 Sep 10.


Genetic recombination affects levels of variability and the efficacy of selection because natural selection acting at one site affects evolutionary processes at linked sites. The variation in local recombination rates across the Drosophila genome provides excellent material for testing hypotheses concerning the evolutionary consequences of recombination. The current state of knowledge from studies of Drosophila genomics and population genetics is reviewed here. Selection at linked sites has influenced the relations between recombination rates and patterns of molecular variation and evolution, such that higher rates of recombination are associated with both higher levels of variability and a greater efficacy of selection. It seems likely that background selection against deleterious mutations is a major factor contributing to these patterns in genome regions in which crossing over is rare or absent, whereas selective sweeps of positively selected mutations probably play an important role in regions with crossing over.

Keywords: Hill-Robertson interference; codon usage; crossing over; efficacy of selection; nucleotide site diversity; repetitive DNA.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Crossing Over, Genetic
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genome, Insect
  • Recombination, Genetic*
  • Selection, Genetic*