Effects of Selection at Linked Sites on Patterns of Genetic Variability

Brian Charlesworth, Jeffrey D. Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Patterns of variation and evolution at a given site in a genome can be strongly influenced by the effects of selection at genetically linked sites. In particular, the recombination rates of genomic regions correlate with their amount of within-population genetic variability, the degree to which the frequency distributions of DNA sequence variants differ from their neutral expectations, and the levels of adaptation of their functional components. We review the major population genetic processes that are thought to lead to these patterns, focusing on their effects on patterns of variability: selective sweeps, background selection, associative overdominance, and Hill-Robertson interference among deleterious mutations. We emphasize the difficulties in distinguishing among the footprints of these processes and disentangling them from the effects of purely demographic factors such as population size changes. We also discuss how interactions between selective and demographic processes can significantly affect patterns of variability within genomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-197
Number of pages21
JournalAnnual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics
StatePublished - 2021


  • Hill Robertson interference
  • Hitchhiking
  • associative overdominance
  • background selection
  • genetic recombination
  • selective sweeps

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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