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Journal of Theoretical Biology 223 (2003) 335346 A selfish origin for recombination
 

Summary: Journal of Theoretical Biology 223 (2003) 335346
A selfish origin for recombination
Marco Archetti*
D!epartement de Biologie, Ecologie et Evolution, Universit!e de Fribourg, Chemin du Mus!ee 10, Fribourg CH-1700, Switzerland
Received 21 November 2002; received in revised form 18 February 2003; accepted 27 February 2003
Abstract
Recent findings of molecular biology show that recombination is initiated by interactions between homologous chromosomes and
that an allele can induce the initiation of recombination on the homolog. Since gene conversion at the site of initiation is strong
enough to promote the transmission of that allele, recombination may be a way for a self-promoting element to spread, even if it
gives no advantage to the individual or to the population. I develop a simple model and discuss available molecular evidence in
support of this hypothesis. A consequent argument is that with asexual reproduction the evolution of recombination leads to an
intragenomic conflict, and a possible outcome of this conflict may be the origin of sexual reproduction.
r 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Recombination; Gene conversion; Evolution of sex; Intragenomic conflict
1. Introduction
Current explanations of the advantage of recombina-
tion derive, in different ways, from Weismann's idea
(Burt, 2000) that recombination allows different combi-
nations of alleles to be present in different individuals,
that is to produce variability on which natural selection

  

Source: Archetti, Marco - Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine