Some DNA data show patterns of variation not expected under the neutral theory. Here, the independent multicodon (IMC) model, a nearly neutral mutation model assuming no interaction among codons, was studied when population size changes using computer simulation. Patterns of variation expected under the model were investigated using statistics for the neutrality tests. The average dispersion index is more than one when population size changes slowly but it never becomes large. The diversity at linked silent site decreases when the strength of selection is intermediate and the reduction is larger when population size changes slowly. Tajima's (1989. Genetics 123, 585-595) D is generally negative. Rejections by the Tajima's test occur more frequently if population size changes quickly but the effect of selection is confounded with the size change itself in this case. If we apply the test of McDonald and Kreitman (1991. Nature 351, 652-654), the rejection is always in the direction of excess replacement polymorphisms. The rejection probability decreases as the rate of population size changes decreases. These results show that the predictions of the IMC model are consistent with the pattern observed in mitochondrial DNA data but not consistent with some data of nuclear DNA. Interaction among codons or variable selection would be necessary to explain such cases.
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