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Genetics. 1998 Aug;149(4):2099-104.

Testing natural selection vs. genetic drift in phenotypic evolution using quantitative trait locus data.

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Department of Biology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14627, USA.


Evolutionary biologists have long sought a way to determine whether a phenotypic difference between two taxa was caused by natural selection or random genetic drift. Here I argue that data from quantitative trait locus (QTL) analyses can be used to test the null hypothesis of neutral phenotypic evolution. I propose a sign test that compares the observed number of plus and minus alleles in the "high line" with that expected under neutrality, conditioning on the known phenotypic difference between the taxa. Rejection of the null hypothesis implies a role for directional natural selection. This test is applicable to any character in any organism in which QTL analysis can be performed.

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