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PLoS One. 2013 Apr 8;8(4):e60123. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060123. Print 2013.

The effect of single recombination events on coalescent tree height and shape.

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  • 1Institut für Genetik, Universität zu Köln, Köln, Germany.

Abstract

The coalescent with recombination is a fundamental model to describe the genealogical history of DNA sequence samples from recombining organisms. Considering recombination as a process which acts along genomes and which creates sequence segments with shared ancestry, we study the influence of single recombination events upon tree characteristics of the coalescent. We focus on properties such as tree height and tree balance and quantify analytically the changes in these quantities incurred by recombination in terms of probability distributions. We find that changes in tree topology are often relatively mild under conditions of neutral evolution, while changes in tree height are on average quite large. Our results add to a quantitative understanding of the spatial coalescent and provide the neutral reference to which the impact by other evolutionary scenarios, for instance tree distortion by selective sweeps, can be compared.

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