Sex, mixability, and modularity

Adi Livnat, Christos Papadimitriou, Nicholas Pippenger, Marcus W. Feldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The assumption that different genetic elements can make separate contributions to the same quantitative trait was originally made in order to reconcile biometry and Mendelism and ever since has been used in population genetics, specifically for the trait of fitness. Here we show that sex is responsible for the existence of separate genetic effects on fitness and, more generally, for the existence of a hierarchy of genetic evolutionary modules. Using the tools developed in the process, we also demonstrate that in terms of their fitness effects, separation and fusion of genes are associated with the increase and decrease of the recombination rate between them, respectively. Implications for sex and evolution theory are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1452-1457
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - 26 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Additive effects
  • Epistasis
  • Fitness
  • Genetic architecture
  • Recombination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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