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Gene. 2000 Dec 30;261(1):11-8.

The neutral theory in an infinite population.

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  • 1Section of Evolution and Ecology, University of California, CA 95616, Davis, USA.


Selective substitutions at one locus induce stochastic dynamics at a linked neutral locus that resemble genetic drift even when the population size is infinite. This new stochastic force, which is called genetic draft, causes genetic variation at the neutral locus to decrease with population size and the rate of deleterious substitution to increase with population size. The fact that heterozygosities in natural populations are only weakly dependent on population size suggests that genetic draft may be a much more important stochastic force than genetic drift in natural populations. Some of the mathematical properties of genetic draft are explored.

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