Quantiative Genetics of Recombination

Is recombination rate itself optimized by natural selection?

Theory predicts that more frequent recombination is favorable when the direction of selection flutates (e.g. seasonally). This implies that recombination rate may itself be the target of optimizing selection. Given that there is a great deal of heritable variation for genome-wide recombination rate in plant and animal populations, we are investigating whether natural populations display signatures of local adaptation for recombination rate.

Does natural selection shape the recombinational landscape of the genome?

Under certain circumstances, theory predicts that natural selection can favor the reduction of recombination at specific locations in the genome. This can, for example, involve the evolution of a chromosomal inversion. I am working on putting modern transgenic technologies to work answering this question.