Freddy Christiansen, Marcus Feldman, Sarah Otto

Paper #: 93-03-012

Recombination, including chromosomal segregation, shuffles together the genetic material carried by different members of a sexual species. This genetic mixing unties the evolutionary fate of alleles at one locus from the fate of alleles at neighboring loci and can increase the amount of genetic variation found within a population. In the process, however, recombination separates advantageous gene combinations, the very gene combinations that enabled the parents to survive and reproduce. Whether or not the adaptation of a population to an environment is more rapid in the presence of recombination, that is, whether or not recombination speeds up the evolutionary process, depends critically on the ways in which this process is modeled. As we shall see, the effect of recombination depends on the population size, the initial population composition, and the selection regime under consideration.