The impact of epistatic selection on the genomic traces of selection



Sarah P. Otto, Fax: 604 822 2416; E-mail:


The rapid accumulation of genomic data has led to an explosion of studies searching for signals of past selection left within DNA sequences. Yet the majority of theoretical studies investigating the traces of selection have assumed a simple form of selection, without interactions among selectively fixed sites. Fitness interactions—‘epistasis’—are commonplace, however, and take on a myriad of forms (Whitlock et al. 1995; Segrèet al. 2005; Phillips 2008). It is thus important to determine how such epistasis would influence selective sweeps. On p. 5018 of this issue, Takahasi (2009) explores the effect of epistasis on genetic variation neighbouring two sites that interact in determining fitness, finding that such epistasis has a dramatic impact on the genetic variability in regions surrounding the interacting sites.