Genealogical trees, coalescent theory and the analysis of genetic polymorphisms

Nat Rev Genet. 2002 May;3(5):380-90. doi: 10.1038/nrg795.


Improvements in genotyping technologies have led to the increased use of genetic polymorphism for inference about population phenomena, such as migration and selection. Such inference presents a challenge, because polymorphism data reflect a unique, complex, non-repeatable evolutionary history. Traditional analysis methods do not take this into account. A stochastic process known as the 'coalescent' presents a coherent statistical framework for analysis of genetic polymorphisms.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Genetics, Population*
  • Humans
  • Pedigree*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Stochastic Processes