• Admixture;
  • infinitesimal model;
  • linkage disequilibrium;
  • migration–selection balance;
  • multilocus

The balance between stabilizing selection and migration of maladapted individuals has formerly been modeled using a variety of quantitative genetic models of increasing complexity, including models based on a constant expressed genetic variance and models based on normality. The infinitesimal model can accommodate nonnormality and a nonconstant genetic variance as a result of linkage disequilibrium. It can be seen as a parsimonious one-parameter model that approximates the underlying genetic details well when a large number of loci are involved. Here, the performance of this model is compared to several more realistic explicit multilocus models, with either two, several or a large number of alleles per locus with unequal effect sizes. Predictions for the deviation of the population mean from the optimum are highly similar across the different models, so that the non-Gaussian infinitesimal model forms a good approximation. It does, however, generally estimate a higher genetic variance than the multilocus models, with the difference decreasing with an increasing number of loci. The difference between multilocus models depends more strongly on the effective number of loci, accounting for relative contributions of loci to the variance, than on the number of alleles per locus.