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Math Biosci. 2000 Jul;166(1):1-21.

The effective number of a population that varies cyclically in size. I. Discrete generations.

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Department of Zoology and Genetics, Iowa State University, Ames 50011-1210, USA.


We consider a dioecious population having numbers of males and females that vary over time in cycles of length k. It is shown that if k is small in comparison with the numbers of males and females in any generation of the cycle, the effective population number (or size), N(e), is approximately equal to the harmonic mean of the effective population sizes during any given cycle. This result holds whether the locus under consideration is autosomal or sex-linked and whether inbreeding effective population numbers or variance effective population numbers are involved in the calculation of N(e). If, however, only two successive generations in the cycle are considered and the population changes in size between these generations, the inbreeding effective population number, N(eI), differs from the variance effective population number, N(eV). The mutation effective population number turns out to be the same as the number derived using calculations involving probabilities of identity by descent. It is also shown that, at least in one special case, the eigenvalue effective population number is the same as N(eV).

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