Journal of Mathematical Biology

, Volume 63, Issue 3, pp 399–431 | Cite as

Selective sweeps for recessive alleles and for other modes of dominance

  • G. Ewing
  • J. Hermisson
  • P. Pfaffelhuber
  • J. Rudolf


A selective sweep describes the reduction of linked genetic variation due to strong positive selection. If s is the fitness advantage of a homozygote for the beneficial allele and h its dominance coefficient, it is usually assumed that h = 1/2, i.e. the beneficial allele is co-dominant. We complement existing theory for selective sweeps by assuming that h is any value in [0, 1]. We show that genetic diversity patterns under selective sweeps with strength s and dominance 0 < h < 1 are similar to co-dominant sweeps with selection strength 2hs. Moreover, we focus on the case h = 0 of a completely recessive beneficial allele. We find that the length of the sweep, i.e. the time from occurrence until fixation of the beneficial allele, is of the order of \({\sqrt{N/s}}\) generations, if N is the population size. Simulations as well as our results show that genetic diversity patterns in the recessive case h = 0 greatly differ from all other cases.


Genetic hitchhiking Selective sweep Beneficial mutation Recessive allele Genealogy 

Mathematics Subject Classification (2000)

92D15 60J70 60K35 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Ewing
    • 1
  • J. Hermisson
    • 1
  • P. Pfaffelhuber
    • 2
  • J. Rudolf
    • 2
  1. 1.University of ViennaViennaAustria
  2. 2.Albert-Ludwigs University of FreiburgFreiburgGermany

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