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Theor Popul Biol. 2004 Sep;66(2):129-38.

Approximating selective sweeps.

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Department of Mathematics, Cornell University, 523 Malott Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


The fixation of advantageous mutations in a population has the effect of reducing variation in the DNA sequence near that mutation. Kaplan et al. (1989) used a three-phase simulation model to study the effect of selective sweeps on genealogies. However, most subsequent work has simplified their approach by assuming that the number of individuals with the advantageous allele follows the logistic differential equation. We show that the impact of a selective sweep can be accurately approximated by a random partition created by a stick-breaking process. Our simulation results show that ignoring the randomness when the number of individuals with the advantageous allele is small can lead to substantial errors.

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