Recombination impacts damaging and disease mutations accumulation in human populations

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Julie HussinPhilip Awadalla


Many decades of theory have demonstrated that in non-recombining systems, slightly deleterious mutations accumulate non-reversibly1, potentially driving the extinction of many asexual species. Non-recombining chromosomes in sexual organisms are thought to have degenerated in a similar fashion[2][1], however it is not clear the extent to which these processes operate along recombining chromosomes with highly variable rates of crossing over. Using high coverage sequencing data from over 1400 individuals, we show that recombination rate modulates the genomic distribution of putatively deleterious variants across the entire human genome. We find that exons in regions of low recombination are significantly enriched for deleterious and disease variants, a signature that varies in strength across worldwide human populations with different demographic histories. As low recombining regions are enriched for highly conserved genes with essential cellular functions and show an excess of mutations with demonstrated effect on health, this phenomenon likely affects disease susceptibility in humans. [1]: #ref-2

Related Concepts

Disease Susceptibility
Nerve Degeneration
Recombination, Genetic

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