Evol Ecol Res 9: 21-39 (2007)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Genetic differentiation after founder events: an evaluation of FST estimators with empirical and simulated data

Kristina M. Sefc,1,2* Robert B. Payne3 and Michael D. Sorenson2

1Department of Zoology, Karl Franzens University of Graz, Graz, Austria,  2Department of Biology, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA and  3Museum of Zoology and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Address all correspondence to Kristina Sefc, Department of Zoology, Karl Franzens University of Graz, Universitätsplatz 2, A-8010 Graz, Austria.
e-mail: kristina.sefc@uni-graz.at


Question: Given a model of speciation by host shift, how do different marker types and measures of genetic differentiation compare in detecting reproductive isolation between a small, recently founded population and its large source population?

Data incorporated: We used empirical data from brood parasitic indigobirds (Vidua spp.) as well as simulated mitochondrial and microsatellite data for a founding event with immediate cessation of gene flow and subsequent population growth.

Method of analysis: We evaluated the performance of different estimators (θST, RST, and ΦST) in detecting population differentiation and compared our simulation results with previously collected empirical data.

Conclusions: With much greater variance, RST was less reliable than θST in detecting incipient differentiation in microsatellite data. Negative RST values for individual loci in both the empirical data and up to 20% of simulation replicates occurred when genetic drift changed allele frequencies but not allele size variance. Both ΦST and θST reliably detected genetic isolation from simulated sequence data. As bottlenecked populations regained variability, however, θST values decreased due to a negative correlation with polymorphism, an effect also observed in the empirical data. Given this effect, the standardization of differentiation estimates relative to population heterozygosity is recommended for both types of markers, although this approach does not correct for the reduction of θST due to allele size homoplasy in microsatellites. In contrast, ΦST values gradually increased over time as novel mutations increased the divergence between haplotypes. Our analyses suggest that for microsatellite data, θST outperforms RST in detecting recently established reproductive isolation, whereas ΦST is preferable for sequence data regardless of divergence time.

Keywords: bottleneck, FST estimators, microsatellites, population growth, standardized genetic differentiation measure, Vidua.

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        © 2007 Kristina M. Sefc. All EER articles are copyrighted by their authors. All authors endorse, permit and license Evolutionary Ecology Ltd. to grant its subscribing institutions/libraries the copying privileges specified below without additional consideration or payment to them or to Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. These endorsements, in writing, are on file in the office of Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. Consult authors for permission to use any portion of their work in derivative works, compilations or to distribute their work in any commercial manner.

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