The Red Queen hypothesis argues that parasites generate selection for genetic mixing (sex and recombination) in their hosts. A number of recent papers have examined this hypothesis using models with haploid hosts. In these haploid models, sex and recombination are selectively equivalent. However, sex and recombination are not equivalent in diploids because selection on sex depends on the consequences of segregation as well as recombination. Here I compare how parasites select on modifiers of sexual reproduction and modifiers of recombination rate. Across a wide set of parameters, parasites tend to select against both sex and recombination, though recombination is favored more often than is sex. There is little correspondence between the conditions favoring sex and those favoring recombination, indicating that the direction of selection on sex is often determined by the effects of segregation, not recombination. Moreover, when sex was favored it is usually due to a long-term advantage whereas short-term effects are often responsible for selection favoring recombination. These results strongly indicate that Red Queen models focusing exclusively on the effects of recombination cannot be used to infer the type of selection on sex that is generated by parasites on diploid hosts.
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Vol. 63 • No. 8