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Genetics. 1992 Oct;132(2):583-9.

Estimation of levels of gene flow from DNA sequence data.

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Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine 92717.


We compare the utility of two methods for estimating the average levels of gene flow from DNA sequence data. One method is based on estimating FST from frequencies at polymorphic sites, treating each site as a separate locus. The other method is based on computing the minimum number of migration events consistent with the gene tree inferred from their sequences. We compared the performance of these two methods on data that were generated by a computer simulation program that assumed the infinite sites model of mutation and that assumed an island model of migration. We found that in general when there is no recombination, the cladistic method performed better than FST while the reverse was true for rates of recombination similar to those found in eukaryotic nuclear genes, although FST performed better for all recombination rates for very low levels of migration (Nm = 0.1).

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