Inferring Demography and Selection in Organisms Characterized by Skewed Offspring Distributions

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Andrew M SackmanJeffrey D Jensen


The recent increase in time-series population genomic data from experimental, natural, and ancient populations has been accompanied by a promising growth in methodologies for inferring demographic and selective parameters from such data. However, these methods have largely presumed that the populations of interest are well-described by the Kingman coalescent. In reality, many groups of organisms, including viruses, marine organisms, and some plants, protists, and fungi, typified by high variance in progeny number, may be best characterized by multiple-merger coalescent models. Estimation of population genetic parameters under Wright-Fisher assumptions for these organisms may thus be prone to serious mis-inference. We propose a novel method for the joint inference of demography and selection under the Ψ-coalescent model, termed Multiple-Merger Coalescent Approximate Bayesian Computation, or MMC-ABC. We first quantify mis-inference under the Kingman and then demonstrate the superior performance of MMC-ABC under conditions of skewed offspring distribution. In order to highlight the utility of this approach, we re-analyzed previously published drug-selection lines of influenza A virus. We jointly inferred the extent of progeny-skew...Continue Reading

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