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Genetics. Jun 2002; 161(2): 865–872.
PMCID: PMC1462133

A method for estimating the mutation, gene conversion and recombination parameters in small multigene families.


A simple two-locus gene conversion model is considered to investigate the amounts of DNA variation and linkage disequilibrium in small multigene families. The exact solutions for the expectations and variances of the amounts of variation within and between two loci are obtained. It is shown that gene conversion increases the amount of variation within each locus and decreases the amount of variation between two loci. The expectation and variance of the amount of linkage disequilibrium are also obtained. Gene conversion generates positive linkage disequilibrium and the degree of linkage disequilibrium decreases as the recombination rate is increased. Using the theoretical results, a method for estimating the mutation, gene conversion, and recombination parameters is developed and applied to the data of the Amy multigene family in Drosophila melanogaster. The gene conversion rate is estimated to be approximately 60-165 times higher than the mutation rate for synonymous sites.

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Selected References

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