A statistical test of a neutral model using the dynamics of cytonuclear disequilibria

Genetics. 1996 Dec;144(4):1985-92. doi: 10.1093/genetics/144.4.1985.


In this paper we use cytonuclear disequilibria to test the neutrality of mtDNA markers. The data considered here involve sample frequencies of cytonuclear genotypes subject to both statistical sampling variation as well as genetic sampling variation. First, we obtain the dynamics of the sample cytonuclear disequilibria assuming random drift alone as the source of genetic sampling variation. Next, we develop a test statistic using cytonuclear disequilibria via the theory of generalized least squares to test the random drift model. The null distribution of the test statistic is shown to be approximately chi-squared using an asymptotic argument as well as computer simulation. Power of the test statistic is investigated under an alternative model with drift and selection. The method is illustrated using data from cage experiments utilizing different cytonuclear genotypes of Drosophila melanogaster. A program for implementing the neutrality test is available upon request.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA / genetics*
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Genetic Markers*
  • Humans
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Models, Theoretical*


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Genetic Markers
  • DNA