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Trends Ecol Evol. 2005 Apr;20(4):194-201. Epub 2005 Jan 12.

Tackling the population genetics of clonal and partially clonal organisms.

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  • 1UMR INRA/AgroCampus de Rennes Biologie des Organismes et des Populations appliquée à la Protection des Plantes (BIO3P) INRA B.P. 35327, 35653 Le Rheu Cedex, France.


Many clonal organisms experience occasional events of sexual recombination, with profound consequences for their population dynamics and evolutionary trajectories. With the recent development of polymorphic genetic markers and new statistical methods, we now have an unprecedented ability to detect recombination in organisms that are thought to reproduce strictly, or essentially asexually. However, it is not always obvious which methodology to apply. Consequently, biologists might decide how to analyse their data without clear guidelines. Here, we discuss the available methods, focusing on those best suited when working with limited genetic information, such as a few genetic markers or DNA sequences. We conclude by commenting on the prospects offered by some recent conceptual advances and the access to high throughput technologies in an increasing number of model organisms.

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