Reliable Detection of Loci Responsible for Local Adaptation: Inference of a Null Model through Trimming the Distribution of F(ST)

Am Nat. 2015 Oct;186 Suppl 1:S24-36. doi: 10.1086/682949. Epub 2015 Sep 15.


Loci responsible for local adaptation are likely to have more genetic differentiation among populations than neutral loci. However, neutral loci can vary widely in their amount of genetic differentiation, even over the same geographic range. Unfortunately, the distribution of differentiation--as measured by an index such as F(ST)--depends on the details of the demographic history of the populations in question, even without spatially heterogeneous selection. Many methods designed to detect F(ST) outliers assume a specific model of demographic history, which can result in extremely high false positive rates for detecting loci under selection. We develop a new method that infers the distribution of F(ST) for loci unlikely to be strongly affected by spatially diversifying selection, using data on a large set of loci with unknown selective properties. Compared to previous methods, this approach, called OutFLANK, has much lower false positive rates and comparable power, as shown by simulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / genetics*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Demography
  • Genetic Drift*
  • Genetic Loci
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genetics, Population
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Selection, Genetic