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Faster‐X evolution: Theory and evidence from Drosophila

Charlesworth, Brian, Campos, José L., Jackson, Benjamin C.
Molecular ecology 2018 v.27 no.19 pp. 3753-3771
DNA, Drosophila, X chromosome, autosomes, evolutionary adaptation, gene dosage, genes, genomics, males, models, mutation, nucleotide sequences, nucleotides, population genetics, prediction
A faster rate of adaptive evolution of X‐linked genes compared with autosomal genes can be caused by the fixation of recessive or partially recessive advantageous mutations, due to the full expression of X‐linked mutations in hemizygous males. Other processes, including recombination rate and mutation rate differences between X chromosomes and autosomes, may also cause faster evolution of X‐linked genes. We review population genetics theory concerning the expected relative values of variability and rates of evolution of X‐linked and autosomal DNA sequences. The theoretical predictions are compared with data from population genomic studies of several species of Drosophila. We conclude that there is evidence for adaptive faster‐X evolution of several classes of functionally significant nucleotides. We also find evidence for potential differences in mutation rates between X‐linked and autosomal genes, due to differences in mutational bias towards GC to AT mutations. Many aspects of the data are consistent with the male hemizygosity model, although not all possible confounding factors can be excluded.