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Genetics. Jun 2001; 158(2): 885–896.
PMCID: PMC1461674

Distinguishing migration from isolation: a Markov chain Monte Carlo approach.

Abstract

A Markov chain Monte Carlo method for estimating the relative effects of migration and isolation on genetic diversity in a pair of populations from DNA sequence data is developed and tested using simulations. The two populations are assumed to be descended from a panmictic ancestral population at some time in the past and may (or may not) after that be connected by migration. The use of a Markov chain Monte Carlo method allows the joint estimation of multiple demographic parameters in either a Bayesian or a likelihood framework. The parameters estimated include the migration rate for each population, the time since the two populations diverged from a common ancestral population, and the relative size of each of the two current populations and of the common ancestral population. The results show that even a single nonrecombining genetic locus can provide substantial power to test the hypothesis of no ongoing migration and/or to test models of symmetric migration between the two populations. The use of the method is illustrated in an application to mitochondrial DNA sequence data from a fish species: the threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus).

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Selected References

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