A Markov Chain Model of Coalescence with Recombination

Theor Popul Biol. 1997 Aug;52(1):43-59. doi: 10.1006/tpbi.1997.1307.


Trees that describe the ancestry of DNA sequences sampled from a population may differ between loci because of genetic recombination. We seek to understand the relationship between such trees for loci that are linked with non-zero recombination rate. We consider a coalescent process model with recombination, as described by Hudson (1983; 1990). For two loci and a sample size of two sequences, a detailed analysis of this process yields the joint distribution of the two trees (one at each locus). A number of interesting results follow from this analysis, including the distribution of the number of recombination events in the history of the sample. For the general case of m loci and samples of size n, we describe an algorithm for simulating the tree building process. Because analytic results are difficult to obtain in this case, we use simulation to study properties of trees at multiple linked loci such as total tree time and number of recombination events. Copyright 1997 Academic Press