On the estimation of ancestral population sizes of modern humans

Genet Res. 1997 Apr;69(2):111-6. doi: 10.1017/s001667239700270x.


The theory developed by Takahata and colleagues for estimating the effective population size of ancestral species using homologous sequences from closely related extant species was extended to take account of variation of evolutionary rates among loci. Nuclear sequence data related to the evolution of modern humans were reanalysed and computer simulations were performed to examine the effect of rate variation on estimation of ancestral population sizes. It is found that the among-locus rate variation does not have a significant effect on estimation of the current population size when sequences from multiple loci are sampled from the same species, but does have a significant effect on estimation of the ancestral population size using sequences from different species. The effects of ancestral population size, species divergence time and among-locus rate variation are found to be highly correlated, and to achieve reliable estimates of the ancestral population size, effects of the other two factors should be estimated independently.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Computer Simulation
  • Humans
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Population Density*