Glacial and interglacial cycles are considered to have caused the fragmentation and admixture of populations in many organisms. A simple model incorporating such periodic changes of the population structure is analysed in order to investigate the behaviour of neutral genetic variation at one and two loci. The equilibrium is reached very quickly in terms of cycles if the length of a cycle is long, as would be expected of the glaciation cycles. Heterozygosity and linkage disequilibrium are shown to depend on the length of time of the fragmented and admixed phases, population sizes, and number (n) of subpopulations in the fragmented phase. If the population size is small in the fragmented phase and its duration is long, the squared correlation coefficient of two loci (a measure of linkage disequilibrium) just after the admixture is approximated by 1/(n-1) for n>1. After admixture, the correlation decays at a rate of approximately twice the recombination rate. Therefore, if post-glaciation admixture created linkage disequilibrium, we expect to observe linkage disequilibrium even between moderately linked loci, and its decay pattern along the chromosome is very different from that in a random mating population at equilibrium. This is especially true in organisms with long generation times such as trees.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology