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Genetics. 1999 Dec;153(4):1863-71.

Nonequilibrium migration in human history.

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Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.


A nonequilibrium migration model is proposed and applied to genetic data from humans. The model assumes symmetric migration among all possible pairs of demes and that the number of demes is large. With these assumptions it is straightforward to allow for changes in demography, and here a single abrupt change is considered. Under the model this change is identical to a change in the ancestral effective population size and might be caused by changes in deme size, in the number of demes, or in the migration rate. Expressions for the expected numbers of sites segregating at particular frequencies in a multideme sample are derived. A maximum-likelihood analysis of independent polymorphic restriction sites in humans reveals a decrease in effective size. This is consistent with a change in the rates of migration among human subpopulations from ancient low levels to present high ones.

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