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Theor Popul Biol. 2008 Aug;74(1):84-92. doi: 10.1016/j.tpb.2008.05.001. Epub 2008 May 9.

The neutral effective migration rate in a mainland-island context.

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Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Kyoto, Japan.


Genetic influx into a population often does not correspond to the real migration rate (m) of individuals, due to class structure within the population. The effective migration rate (m(e)) is a concept to measure gene flow in such a situation. The ratio of the effective migration rate to the real migration rate (m(e)/m) is called the gene flow factor, and represents the degree of gene flow modification. Prior authors proposed different definitions of the effective migration rate. These may be categorized into two groups: the neutral effective migration rate and the selective effective migration rate. In this article, we construct a general model of a class-structured population with a mainland-island structure. Using the model, we prove that the gene flow factor of the neutral effective migration rate converges to the mean reproductive value of immigrants if the limit is taken with the real migration rate converging to zero. This limit theorem provides a novel interpretation of gene flow and can be used to derive approximation formulae of the neutral effective migration rate. We illustrate this method analyzing two examples, sex ratio distortion due to extrinsic factors and hybrid zones with underdominance.

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