Wakeley_JHered_2004 - Journal of Heredity 2004:95(5):397405

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Recent Trends in Population Genetics: More Data! More Math! Simple Models? J . W AKELEY From the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, 2102 Biological Laboratories, 16 Divinity Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138. I thank Kent Holsinger for the invitation to participate in the AGA centenary celebration and for helpful comments on the manuscript. This work was supported by a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (DEB-0133760) from the National Science Foundation. Address correspondence to John Wakeley at the address above, or e-mail: wakeley@fas.harvard.edu. Abstract Recent developments in population genetics are reviewed and placed in a historical context. Current and future challenges, both in computational methodology and in analytical theory, are to develop models and techniques to extract the most information possible from multilocus DNA datasets. As an example of the theoretical issues, Fve limiting forms of the island model of population subdivision with migration are presented in a uniFed framework. These approximations illustrate the interplay between migration and drift in structuring gene genealogies, and some of them make connections between the fairly complicated island-model genealogical process and the much simpler, unstructured neutral coalescent process which underlies most inferential techniques in population genetics. The Feld of population genetics has undergone remarkable changes in the past few decades. This has been driven mostly by the development of DNA sequencing technologies, which now make gathering large quantities of the most direct kind of genetic data easy and affordable. Theoretical models and computational techniques appropriate to handle these data are still in development, and there is great need for further work. This article gives a short history of the Feld in relation to these developments and outlines some of the mathemat- ical issues relevant to the study of gene genealogies of samples from demographically complicated populations. These sorts of analyses, which sometimes yield surprisingly simple results, are illustrated for genetic ancestries of samples of size two in Wright’s (1931) island model of population structure, but the conclusions are limited neither to such small samples nor to such simple population structures. Theoretical Population Genetics History The story of the emergence of theoretical population genetics, out of a tension between biometricians and Mendelians, has been told eloquently by Provine (1971). In relation to the current state of the Feld, it is interesting to note that even the Frst population genetics theory was data driven. ±isher (1918), in an article often taken to represent the birth of the Feld, used mathematics to show that two apparently con²icting sets of available data were actually in perfect harmony. In particular, ±isher (1918) demonstrated that measured correlations between relatives, which were the focus of biometricians’ studies, could be explained by the
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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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Wakeley_JHered_2004 - Journal of Heredity 2004:95(5):397405

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