Ford _MolEcol_2002

Ford _MolEcol_2002 - MEC_1536.fm Page 1245 Tuesday, July...

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Molecular Ecology (2002) 11 , 1245–1262 © 2002 Blackwell Science Ltd Blackwel Science, Ltd INVITED REVIEW Applications of selective neutrality tests to molecular ecology MICHAEL J. FORD Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Conservation Biology Division, 2725 Montlake Blvd E, Seattle, WA 98112, USA Abstract This paper reviews how statistical tests of neutrality have been used to address questions in molecular ecology are reviewed. The work consists of four major parts: a brief review of the current status of the neutral theory; a review of several particularly interesting examples of how statistical tests of neutrality have led to insight into ecological problems; a brief discussion of the pitfalls of assuming a strictly neutral model if it is false; and a discussion of some of the opportunities and problems that molecular ecologists face when using neutrality tests to study natural selection. Keywords : neutral theory, neutrality test, selection Received 29 October 2001; revision received 10 April 2002; accepted 10 April 2002 Introduction The fields of evolutionary biology and population genetics have been dominated by molecular studies for the last quarter century (Lewontin 1974; 1991). Over much of that time, there has been a persistent debate about whether natural selection or random drift is the dominant force in molecular evolution (Kimura 1983; Gillespie 1991). In recent years, considerable progress has been made in the ability to detect natural selection from patterns of DNA sequence variation, and the ‘selectionist/neutralist debate’ has matured into an effort to estimate the distribution of selective effects on genetic variation (Kreitman 1996; Hey 1999). The strict neutral theory, on the other hand, has become the standard null hypothesis used to approach the study of molecular evolution, even if it is often rejected. In this work, how molecular inferences about natural selection have been and can be used to address questions in ecology and conservation biology are reviewed. The fields of conservation genetics and molecular ecology make heavy use of molecular techniques, but generally do so under the assumption that essentially all observed variation is selectively neutral. For example, of the papers published in Molecular Ecology over the last 2 years, only a handful made use of statistical tests of neutrality. The primary goal of this review is to convince molecular ecologists that molecular population genetics can be a fruitful way to study natural selection and adaptation. There have been several recent reviews of the statistical techniques used to test for selection on DNA sequences (Kreitman & Akashi 1995; Hughes 1999; Kreitman 2000). Therefore, these techniques are reviewed in sufficient
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This note was uploaded on 12/18/2010 for the course GENETICS 486 taught by Professor Hey during the Fall '10 term at Rutgers.

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Ford _MolEcol_2002 - MEC_1536.fm Page 1245 Tuesday, July...

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