Nov 21, 2015

Coalescent Times and Patterns of Genetic Diversity in Species with Facultative Sex: Effects of Gene Conversion, Population Structure, and Heterogeneity

Genetics
Matthew HartfieldAneil F Agrawal

Abstract

Many diploid organisms undergo facultative sexual reproduction. However, little is currently known concerning the distribution of neutral genetic variation among facultative sexual organisms except in very simple cases. Understanding this distribution is important when making inferences about rates of sexual reproduction, effective population size, and demographic history. Here we extend coalescent theory in diploids with facultative sex to consider gene conversion, selfing, population subdivision, and temporal and spatial heterogeneity in rates of sex. In addition to analytical results for two-sample coalescent times, we outline a coalescent algorithm that accommodates the complexities arising from partial sex; this algorithm can be used to generate multisample coalescent distributions. A key result is that when sex is rare, gene conversion becomes a significant force in reducing diversity within individuals. This can reduce genomic signatures of infrequent sex (i.e., elevated within-individual allelic sequence divergence) or entirely reverse the predicted patterns. These models offer improved methods for assessing null patterns of molecular variation in facultative sexual organisms.

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Mentioned in this Paper

In Silico
Patterns
Phenotypic Sex
Genome
Genes
Divergence
Polaron
Spatial Distribution
Reproduction
Sexual Reproduction

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