Epistasis Blog

From the Computational Genetics Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania (www.epistasis.org)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Evolution of Sex

A new paper in Nature Reviews Genetics looks at the interplay between sex and genetic architecture. In particular, the role of epistasis is explored.

de Visser JA, Elena SF. The evolution of sex: empirical insights into the roles of epistasis and drift. Nat Rev Genet. 2007 Feb;8(2):139-49. [PubMed]

Despite many years of theoretical and experimental work, the explanation for why sex is so common as a reproductive strategy continues to resist understanding. Recent empirical work has addressed key questions in this field, especially regarding rates of mutation accumulation in sexual and asexual organisms, and the roles of negative epistasis and drift as sources of adaptive constraint in asexually reproducing organisms. At the same time, new ideas about the evolution of sexual recombination are being tested, including intriguing suggestions of an important interplay between sex and genetic architecture, which indicate that sex and recombination could have affected their own evolution.

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