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Genetics. 1999 Jun;152(2):763-73.

Maximum-likelihood estimation of migration rates and effective population numbers in two populations using a coalescent approach.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, University of Washington, Box 357360, Seattle, Washington 98195-7360, USA.


A new method for the estimation of migration rates and effective population sizes is described. It uses a maximum-likelihood framework based on coalescence theory. The parameters are estimated by Metropolis-Hastings importance sampling. In a two-population model this method estimates four parameters: the effective population size and the immigration rate for each population relative to the mutation rate. Summarizing over loci can be done by assuming either that the mutation rate is the same for all loci or that the mutation rates are gamma distributed among loci but the same for all sites of a locus. The estimates are as good as or better than those from an optimized FST-based measure. The program is available on the World Wide Web at http://evolution.genetics.

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