Deleterious mutations and selection for sex in finite diploid populations

Denis Roze, Richard E. Michod

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23 Scopus citations


In diploid populations, indirect benefits of sex may stem from segregation and recombination. Although it has been recognized that finite population size is an important component of selection for recombination, its effects on selection for segregation have been somewhat less studied. In this article, we develop analytical two- and three-locus models to study the effect of recurrent deleterious mutations on a modifier gene increasing sex, in a finite diploid population. The model also incorporates effects of mitotic recombination, causing loss of heterozygosity (LOH). Predictions are tested using multilocus simulations representing deleterious mutations occurring at a large number of loci. The model and simulations show that excess of heterozygosity generated by finite population size is an important component of selection for sex, favoring segregation when deleterious alleles are nearly additive to dominant. Furthermore, sex tends to break correlations in homozygosity among selected loci, which disfavors sex when deleterious alleles are either recessive or dominant. As a result, we find that it is difficult to maintain costly sex when deleterious alleles are recessive. LOH tends to favor sex when deleterious mutations are recessive, but the effect is relatively weak for rates of LOH corresponding to current estimates (of the order 10-4-10 -5).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1095-1112
Number of pages18
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics

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