Detecting strong positive selection in the genome


Wolfgang Stephan, Department of Biology II, LMU Biocenter, Grosshaderner Str. 2, 82152 Planegg, Germany, Fax: +49892180 74104; E-mail:


New statistical tests have been developed in the past decade that enable us to infer evidence of recent strong positive selection from genome-wide data on single-nucleotide polymorphism and to localize the targets of selection in the genome. Based on these tests, past demographic events that led to distortions of the site-frequency spectrum of variation can be distinguished from selection, in particular if linkage disequilibrium is taken into account. These methods have been successfully applied to species from which complete sequence information and polymorphism data are available, including Drosophila melanogaster, humans, and several plant species. To make full use of the available data, however, the tests that were primarily designed for panmictic populations need to be extended to spatially structured populations.