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Journal Article

Rare Alleles as Indicators of Gene Flow

Montgomery Slatkin
Evolution
Vol. 39, No. 1 (Jan., 1985), pp. 53-65
DOI: 10.2307/2408516
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2408516
Page Count: 13
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Rare Alleles as Indicators of Gene Flow
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Abstract

A method for estimating the average level of gene flow in a subdivided population, as measured by the average number of migrants exchanged between local populations, Nm, is presented. The results from a computer simulation model show that the logarithm of Nm is approximately linearly related to the logarithm of the average frequency of private alleles, p̄(1), in a sample of alleles from the population. It is shown that this result is relatively insensitive to changes in parameters of the model other than Nm and the number of individuals sampled per population. The dependence of the value of p̄(1) on the numbers of individuals sampled provides a rough way to correct for differences in sample size. This method was applied to data from 16 species, showing that estimated values of Nm range from much greater than 1 to less than 0.1. These results confirm the qualitative analysis of Slatkin (1981). This method was also applied to subsamples from a population to show how to measure the extent of isolation of local populations.

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