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Genetics. Aug 2003; 164(4): 1635–1644.
PMCID: PMC1462666

The population genetics of clonal and partially clonal diploids.

Abstract

The consequences of variable rates of clonal reproduction on the population genetics of neutral markers are explored in diploid organisms within a subdivided population (island model). We use both analytical and stochastic simulation approaches. High rates of clonal reproduction will positively affect heterozygosity. As a consequence, nearly twice as many alleles per locus can be maintained and population differentiation estimated as F(ST) value is strongly decreased in purely clonal populations as compared to purely sexual ones. With increasing clonal reproduction, effective population size first slowly increases and then points toward extreme values when the reproductive system tends toward strict clonality. This reflects the fact that polymorphism is protected within individuals due to fixed heterozygosity. Contrarily, genotypic diversity smoothly decreases with increasing rates of clonal reproduction. Asexual populations thus maintain higher genetic diversity at each single locus but a lower number of different genotypes. Mixed clonal/sexual reproduction is nearly indistinguishable from strict sexual reproduction as long as the proportion of clonal reproduction is not strongly predominant for all quantities investigated, except for genotypic diversities (both at individual loci and over multiple loci).

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