Are QSTFST comparisons for natural populations meaningful?


B. Pujol. Fax: +44 (0) 1865 275065; E-mail:


Comparisons between putatively neutral genetic differentiation amongst populations, FST, and quantitative genetic variation, QST, are increasingly being used to test for natural selection. However, we find that approximately half of the comparisons that use only data from wild populations confound phenotypic and genetic variation. We urge the use of a clear distinction between narrow-sense QST, which can be meaningfully compared with FST, and phenotypic divergence measured between populations, PST, which is inadequate for comparisons in the wild. We also point out that an unbiased estimate of QST can be found using the so-called ‘animal model’ of quantitative genetics.