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driftsel: an R package for detecting signals of natural selection in quantitative traits


Correspondence: M. Karhunen, Fax: +358 9 191 57694;



Approaches and tools to differentiate between natural selection and genetic drift as causes of population differentiation are of frequent demand in evolutionary biology. Based on the approach of Ovaskainen et al. (2011), we have developed an R package (driftsel) that can be used to differentiate between stabilizing selection, diversifying selection and random genetic drift as causes of population differentiation in quantitative traits when neutral marker and quantitative genetic data are available. Apart from illustrating the use of this method and the interpretation of results using simulated data, we apply the package on data from three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) to highlight its virtues. driftsel can also be used to perform usual quantitative genetic analyses in common-garden study designs.