Increased recombination frequencies resulting from directional selection for geotaxis in drosophila

Abraham B. Korol, Konstantin G. Iliadi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Several classes of models have been suggested to explain how natural selection can favour non-zero recombination. Directional and fluctuating selection, abiotic and biotic, and selection against harmful mutations seem to be the most plausible factors, but little has been done to test the problem experimentally. Here we show that long-term selection for positive or negative geotaxis in Drosophila melanogaster results in a dramatic increase in recombination rates in different genomic regions. The total increment in recombination for the genome portion considered is 78 cM for geo+ and 66 cM for geo. Selection for negative geotaxis did not result in recombination changes in chromosome 2 whereas selection in the opposite direction caused nearly a four-fold increase in the b-cn segment and a significant, albeit not as high, increase in the adjacent regions, al-b and cn-vg. In chromosomes X and 3, a significant increase in recombination was found in both selected lines. In total, the increment in exchange frequency in chromosome X (y-cv-ct-v-car) was from 72.6 per cent (the control level) to 124.7 and 110.3 per cent geo and geo +, respectively, whereas for the studied portion of chromosome 3 (ru-h-cu-sr-e) we obtained, correspondingly, 60.8, 76.4 and 73.8 per cent. Thus, in general, selection for geotaxis resulted in increased recombination frequencies regardless of the direction of selection. These results, taken together with other data, allow one to conclude that selection for fitness traits (e.g. for changed levels of quantitative traits, behavioural peculiarities or adaptation to adverse environmental conditions) may be a powerful factor causing rather rapid changes in the recombination system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-68
Number of pages5
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1994


  • Crossing-over
  • Drosophila
  • Geotaxis
  • Recombination evolution
  • Two-way selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Genetics


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