The detection of shared and ancestral polymorphisms

Genet Res. 2005 Oct;86(2):149-57. doi: 10.1017/S0016672305007743. Epub 2005 Oct 6.


There is increasing evidence that closely related species contain many polymorphisms that were present in their common ancestral species. Use of a more distant relative as an outgroup increases the ability to detect such ancestral polymorphisms. We describe a method for further improving estimates of the fraction of polymorphisms that are ancestral, and illustrate this with reference to data on Drosophila pseudoobscura and D. miranda. We also derive formulae for the proportion of fixations arising from ancestral polymorphisms and new mutations, respectively. The results should be useful for tests of selection based on the levels of expected and observed ancestral polymorphisms.

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genes, Insect
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genetics, Population
  • Models, Genetic
  • Models, Statistical
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Selection, Genetic
  • Species Specificity