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Effective Population Size

  1. Michael C Whitlock

Published Online: 15 JUL 2006

DOI: 10.1038/npg.els.0005443



How to Cite

Whitlock, M. C. 2006. Effective Population Size. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2006


The effective size of a population (Ne) is the size of an ideal population that has the same amount of genetic drift, change in heterozygosity or rate of fixation as the population. Thus Ne can predict these quantities in a nonideal population.


  • random genetic drift;
  • fixation;
  • theoretical population genetics;
  • ideal population;
  • inbreeding;
  • genetic variance