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Research Article

Human Population Differentiation Is Strongly Correlated with Local Recombination Rate

  • Alon Keinan mail,

    ak735@cornell.edu

    Affiliations: Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America, Broad Institute of Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America, Department of Biological Statistics and Computational Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, United States of America

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  • David Reich

    Affiliations: Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America, Broad Institute of Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America

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  • Published: March 26, 2010
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000886

Reader Comments (1)

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Positive selection is not correlated with recombination rate

Posted by ecoronap on 13 Apr 2010 at 21:21 GMT

The only force we could identify that can explain the observation of a negative correlation between recombination rate and FST is directional selection; that is, hitchhiking linked to positively selected alleles (sweeps) or background selection linked to negatively selected alleles.
http://plosgenetics.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pgen.1000886#article1.body1.sec3.p3

If I understand this statement correctly, while positive selection (as measured by Fst) may show inverse correlation to recombination rate, positive selection itself is not shown to be inversely correlated with recombination rate. Fst has an inverse correlation with recombination rate because positive selection in regions with lower LD has the effect of raising Fst values across a wider region encompassing more SNPs. However, positive selection events are not shown to vary with recombination rate. Positive selection is just more easily detected in regions with lower LD. Unfortunately, it is much harder to detect positive selection in regions with low LD, leading to the superficial appearance that positive selection occurs more often in regions with low recombination rate.

No competing interests declared.