Quasi equilibrium, variance effective size and fixation index for populations with substructure

J Math Biol. 2014 Nov;69(5):1057-128. doi: 10.1007/s00285-013-0728-9. Epub 2013 Oct 15.


In this paper, we develop a method for computing the variance effective size N eV, the fixation index F ST and the coefficient of gene differentiation G ST of a structured population under equilibrium conditions. The subpopulation sizes are constant in time, with migration and reproduction schemes that can be chosen with great flexibility. Our quasi equilibrium approach is conditional on non-fixation of alleles. This is of relevance when migration rates are of a larger order of magnitude than the mutation rates, so that new mutations can be ignored before equilibrium balance between genetic drift and migration is obtained. The vector valued time series of subpopulation allele frequencies is divided into two parts; one corresponding to genetic drift of the whole population and one corresponding to differences in allele frequencies among subpopulations. We give conditions under which the first two moments of the latter, after a simple standardization, are well approximated by quantities that can be explicitly calculated. This enables us to compute approximations of the quasi equilibrium values of N eV, F ST and G ST. Our findings are illustrated for several reproduction and migration scenarios, including the island model, stepping stone models and a model where one subpopulation acts as a demographic reservoir. We also make detailed comparisons with a backward approach based on coalescence probabilities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Gene Frequency / genetics*
  • Genetic Drift*
  • Genetic Variation / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Numerical Analysis, Computer-Assisted
  • Population Density