Variation in Recombination

Recombination, the process by which DNA strands are broken and repaired, producing new combinations of alleles, occurs in nearly all multicellular organisms and has important implications for many evolutionary processes. Understanding how and why recombination rate varies is major a challenge in biology. Together with Philine Feulner, Susan Johnston, Anna Santure and Carole Smadga we Edited a Theme Issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society on “Evolutionary causes and consequences of recombination rate variation in sexual organisms”. The aim of the Theme Issue was to integrate knowledge of the molecular mechanisms governing recombination with our understanding of the evolutionary processes driving variation in recombination within and between species. By integrating these fields, we can identify important knowledge gaps and areas for future research, and pave the way for a more comprehensive understanding of how and why recombination rate varies.

Our contribution to the special issue is a comprehensive review of how and why recombination rate varies. We provided an up to date picture of how it varies across Eukaryote taxa by analysing linkage map data from 353 species. We then discuss proximate and ultimate processes governing recombination rate variation and consider how these influence evolutionary processes.

Stapley J, Feulner PGD, Johnston SE, Santure AW, Smadja CM (2017) Variation in recombination frequency and distribution across Eukaryotes: patterns and processes. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

For a summary of the Theme Issue see our introduction

Stapley J, Feulner PGD, Johnston SE, Santure AW, Smadja CM (2017) Recombination: the good, the bad and the variable. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.