Evolutionary and statistical properties of three genetic distances

Authors

  • Steven T. Kalinowski

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    1. Conservation Biology Division, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, 2725 Montlake Boulevard East, Seattle, WA 98112, USA
      Steven Kalinowski. Fax: 206 860–3335; E-mail: Steven.Kalinowski@noaa.gov
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Steven Kalinowski. Fax: 206 860–3335; E-mail: Steven.Kalinowski@noaa.gov

Abstract

Many genetic distances have been developed to summarize allele frequency differences between populations. I review the evolutionary and statistical properties of three popular genetic distances: DS, DA, and θ, using computer simulation of two simple evolutionary histories: an isolation model of population divergence and an equilibrium migration model. The effect of effective population size, mutation rate, and mutation mechanism upon the parametric value between pairs of populations in these models explored, and the unique properties of each distance are described. The effect of these evolutionary parameters on study design is also investigated and similar results are found for each genetic distance in each model of evolution: large sample sizes are warranted when populations are relatively genetically similar; and loci with more alleles produce better estimates of genetic distance.

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