Analysis of Genetic Structure and Dispersal Patterns in a Population of Sea Beet

, , , and . Genetics 149 (4): 1975--1985 (August 1998)


A model of the migration pattern in a metapopulation of sea beet ( Beta vulgaris L. ssp. maritima ), based on the continuous distributions of seed and pollen movements, is fitted to gene frequency data at 12 isozyme and RFLP loci by maximum likelihood by using an approximation of the simultaneous equilibrium distribution of the gene frequencies generated by the underlying multivariate stochastic process of genetic drift in the population. Several alternative restrictions of the general model are fitted to the data, including the island model, a model of complete isolation, and a model in which the seed and pollen dispersal variances are equal. Several likelihood ratio tests between these alternatives are performed, and median bias in the estimated parameters is corrected by using parametric bootstrapping. To assess the fit of the selected model, the predicted covariances are compared with covariances computed from the data directly. The dependency of estimated parameters on the ratio between effective and absolute subpopulation sizes, which is treated as a known parameter in the analysis, is also examined. Finally, we note that the data also appear to contain some information about this ratio.

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