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Mol Biol Evol. 1983 Dec;1(1):67-83.

Geographic components of linkage disequilibrium in natural populations of Escherichia coli.

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University of Rochester.


Geographic variation in the genetic structure of natural enteric populations of Escherichia coli was assessed at both the single-locus and dilocus levels from allozyme genotypes at 12 enzyme loci in 178 cell lines isolated from human hosts in Sweden, Iowa, and Tonga. Although there was significant heterogeneity in allele frequencies at six of the 12 loci, geographic variation accounted for only 2.0% of the total genetic diversity (HT = 0.518). Ohta's D-statistics were used to partition the total variance of dilocus linkage disequilibrium into within-population and between-population components. The observed total variance in disequilibrium (0.0339), averaged over 66 locus-pairs, was significantly greater than would be expected (0.0103) if alleles were randomly associated in an unstructured total population; and both within-locality and between-locality components made substantial contributions to the total variance. Half the locus-pairs exhibited the specific dual relationship among components expected when random factors are generating disequilibrium, but 20% of the locus-pairs showed the opposite relationship, reflecting systematic allele associations. The magnitude of dilocus disequilibrium apparently is unrelated to the chromosomal distance between loci. This and other evidence indicates that substitutive recombination rates in natural populations are sufficiently low to permit indirect periodic selection to play a prominent role in generating multilocus genetic structure.

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