Processed pseudogenes are located preferentially in regions of low recombination rates in the human genome


Guoqing Liu, School of Mathematics, Physics and Biological Engineering, Inner Mongolia University of Science and Technology, Baotou 014010, China. Tel.: +86 472 5951555; fax: +86 472 5951554; e-mail:


The aim of this article is to demonstrate possible recombination-associated evolutionary forces affecting the genomic distribution of processed pseudogenes. The relationship between recombination rate and the distribution of processed pseudogenes is analysed in the human genome. The results show that processed pseudogenes preferentially accumulate in regions of low recombination rates and this correlation cannot be explained by indirect relationships with GC content and gene density. Several explanatory models for the observation are discussed. A model of selection against ectopic recombination is tested based on the difference in distribution pattern between two classes of processed pseudogenes, which differ in the possibility of stimulating ectopic recombination. Our results indicate that the correlation between processed pseudogene density and recombination rate is probably results, in part, from the selection against ectopic recombination between closely located homologous processed pseudogenes. We also found a length effect in processed pseudogene distribution, namely long processed pseudogenes are located more preferentially in regions of low recombination rates than short ones.