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Letters to Nature
Nature 356, 519 - 520 (09 April 1992); doi:10.1038/356519a0

Levels of naturally occurring DNA polymorphism correlate with recombination rates in D. melanogaster

David J. Begun & Charles F. Aquadro

Section of Genetics and Development, Biotechnology Building, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853-2703, USA

TWO genomic regions with unusally low recombination rates inDrosophila melanogaster have normal levels of divergence but greatly reduced nucleotide diversity1,2, apparently resulting from the fixation of advantageous mutations and the associated hitchhiking effect3,4. Here we show that for 20 gene regions from across the genome, the amount of nucleotide diversity in natural populations of D. melanogaster is positively correlated with the regional rate of recombination. This cannot be explained by variation in mutation rates and/or functional constraint, because we observe no correlation between recombination rates and DNA sequence divergence between D. melanogaster and its sibling species, D. simulans. We suggest that the correlation may result from genetic hitch-hiking associated with the fixation of advantageous mutants. Hitch-hiking thus seems to occur over a large fraction of the Drosophilagenome and may constitute a major constraint on levels of genetic variation in nature.

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