A statistical test for detecting geographic subdivision

Mol Biol Evol. 1992 Jan;9(1):138-51. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.molbev.a040703.


A statistical test for detecting genetic differentiation of subpopulations is described that uses molecular variation in samples of DNA sequences from two or more localities. The statistical significance of the test is determined with Monte Carlo simulations. The power of the test to detect genetic differentiation in a selectively neutral Wright-Fisher island model depends on both sample size and the rates of migration, mutation, and recombination. It is found that the power of the test is substantial with samples of size 50, when 4Nm less than 10, where N is the subpopulation size and m is the fraction of migrants in each subpopulation each generation. More powerful tests are obtained with genes with recombination than with genes without recombination.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase / genetics
  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genetics, Population
  • Geography
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Mutation
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • X Chromosome


  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase