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Front. Ecol. Evol. | doi: 10.3389/fevo.2018.00010

Negative frequency-dependent selection is frequently confounding

  • 1Biology, University of Pennsylvania, United States

Persistent genetic variation within populations presents an evolutionary problem, as natural selection and genetic drift tend to erode genetic diversity. Models of balancing selection were developed to account for the maintenance of genetic variation observed in natural populations. Negative frequency-dependent selection is a powerful type of balancing selection that maintains many natural polymorphisms, but it is also commonly misinterpreted. This review aims to clarify the processes underlying negative frequency-dependent selection, describe classes of polymorphisms that can and cannot result from these processes, and discuss the empirical data needed to accurately identify processes that generate or maintain diversity in nature. Finally, the importance of accurately describing the processes affecting genetic diversity within populations as it relates to research progress is considered.

Keywords: Negative frequency-dependent selection, Multiple niche polymorphism, natural selection, diversity, Polymorphism, Genetic

Received: 01 Dec 2017; Accepted: 19 Jan 2018.

Edited by:

Norman A. Johnson, University of Massachusetts Amherst, United States

Reviewed by:

Rama S. Singh, McMaster University, Canada
Cock Van Oosterhout, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom  

Copyright: © 2018 Brisson. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Dustin Brisson, University of Pennsylvania, Biology, Philadelphia, United States, dbrisson@sas.upenn.edu