Effective population size in organisms with complex life-histories

Theor Popul Biol. 1993 Dec;44(3):316-40. doi: 10.1006/tpbi.1993.1031.


A method for determining effective population size in organisms with arbitrarily complex life-histories, including clonal reproduction, is developed. A coalescent model that focuses on the time at which two alleles last shared a common ancestor leads to a method for determining an inbreeding effective population size. Comparisons with previously developed approximate methods for haploid age-structured models show close, but not exact, agreement. A diploid population with both clonal and sexual reproduction is considered; examples from published demographic studies are used to show the effects of within-individual versus between-individual coalescence times and different definitions of generation time in calculating effective population size. These examples show relatively small differences in effective population sizes calculated using within- and between-individual coalescence times; however, in one case, different definitions of generation time lead to a large change in ratios of effective population size to census size (Ne/N). The Ne/N calculated for clonally reproducing organisms in this paper seem to be substantially smaller than published values for organisms lacking clonal reproduction.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Diploidy
  • Haploidy
  • Humans
  • Inbreeding
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Plant Development
  • Population Density*
  • Reproduction*
  • Time Factors