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Genetics. 1993 Sep;135(1):233-48.

A quantitative test of the neutral theory using pooled allozyme data.

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School of Biological Sciences, University College of Swansea, Singleton Park, Wales.


Neutral theory predicts a positive correlation between the amount of polymorphism within species and evolutionary rate. Previous tests of this prediction using both allozyme and DNA data have led to conflicting conclusions about the influence of selection and mutation drift. It is argued here that quantitative conclusions about the adequacy of neutral theory can be obtained by analyzing genetic data pooled from many sources. Using this approach, a large database containing information on allozyme variation in over 1500 species is used to examine the relationship between heterozygosity and genetic distance. The results provide support for the hypothesis that a major percentage of protein variation can be explained by variation in neutral mutation rate, and a minor percentage by strong selection.

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