Recombination and peak jumping

Recombination and peak jumping

Kristina Crona
(Submitted on 7 Nov 2014)

We find an advantage of recombination for a category of complex fitness landscapes. Recent studies of empirical fitness landscapes reveal complex gene interactions and multiple peaks, and recombination can be a powerful mechanism for escaping suboptimal peaks. However classical work on recombination largely ignores the effect of complex gene interactions. The advantage we find has no correspondence for 2-locus systems or for smooth landscapes. The effect is sometimes extreme, in the sense that shutting off recombination could result in that the organism fails to adapt. A standard question about recombination is if the mechanism tends to accelerate or decelerate adaptation. However, we argue that extreme effects may be more important than how the majority falls.

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