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Mol Biol Evol. 1983 Dec;1(1):84-93.

Rare variant alleles in the light of the neutral theory.

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National Institute of Genetics, Mishima, Japan.


Based on the neutral theory of molecular evolution and polymorphism, and particularly assuming "the model of infinite alleles," a method is proposed which enables us to estimate the fraction of selectively neutral alleles (denoted by Pneut) among newly arisen mutations. It makes use of data on the distribution of rare variant alleles in large samples together with information on the average heterozygosity. The formula proposed is Pneut = [He/(1-He)] [loge(2nq)/n alpha (x less than q)], where n alpha(x less than q) is the average number of rare alleles per locus whose frequency, x, is less than q; n is the average sample size used to count rare alleles; He is the average heterozygosity per locus; and q is a small preassigned number such as q = 0.01. The method was applied to observations on enzyme and other protein loci in plaice, humans (European and Amerindian), Japanese monkeys, and fruit flies. Estimates obtained for them range from 0.064 to 0.21 with the mean and standard error Pneut = 0.14 +/- 0.06. It was pointed out that these estimates are consistent with the corresponding estimate Pneut(Hb) = 0.14 obtained independently based on the neutral theory and using data on the evolutionary rate of nucleotide substitutions in globin pseudogenes together with those in the normal globins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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