To understand selection on recombination, we need to consider how linkage disequilibria develop and how recombination alters these disequilibria. Any factor that affects the development of disequilibria, including nonrandom mating, can potentially change selection on recombination. Assortative mating is known to affect linkage disequilibria but its effects on the evolution of recombination have not been previously studied. Given that assortative mating for fitness can arise indirectly via a number of biologically realistic scenarios, it is plausible that weak assortative mating occurs across a diverse set of taxa. Using a modifier model, we examine how assortative mating for fitness affects the evolution of recombination under two evolutionary scenarios: selective sweeps and mutation-selection balance. We find there is no net effect of assortative mating during a selective sweep. In contrast, assortative mating could have a large effect on recombination when deleterious alleles are maintained at mutation-selection balance but only if assortative mating is sufficiently strong. Upon considering reasonable values for the number of loci affecting fitness components, the strength of selection, and the mutation rate, we conclude that the correlation in fitness between mates is unlikely to be sufficiently high for assortative mating to affect the evolution of recombination in most species.
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Vol. 60 • No. 7