The Effect of Strong Purifying Selection on Genetic Diversity
, , and .
Genetics (May 2018)

Purifying selection reduces genetic diversity, both at sites under direct selection and at linked neutral sites. This process, known as background selection, is thought to play an important role in shaping genomic diversity in natural populations. Yet despite its importance, the effects of background selection are not fully understood. Previous theoretical analyses of this process have taken a backwards-time approach based on the structured coalescent. While they provide some insight, these methods are either limited to very small samples or are computationally prohibitive. Here, we present a new forward-time analysis of the trajectories of both neutral and deleterious mutations at a nonrecombining locus. We find that strong purifying selection leads to remarkably rich dynamics: neutral mutations can exhibit sweep-like behavior, and deleterious mutations can reach substantial frequencies even when they are guaranteed to eventually go extinct. Our analysis of these dynamics allows us to calculate analytical expressions for the full site frequency spectrum. We find that whenever background selection is strong enough to lead to a reduction in genetic diversity, it also results in substantial distortions to the site frequency spectrum, which can mimic the effects of population expansions or positive selection. Because these distortions are most pronounced in the low and high frequency ends of the spectrum, they become particularly important in larger samples, but may have small effects in smaller samples. We also apply our forward-time framework to calculate other quantities, such as the ultimate fates of polymorphisms or the fitnesses of their ancestral backgrounds
  • @peter.ralph
This publication has not been reviewed yet.

rating distribution
average user rating0.0 out of 5.0 based on 0 reviews
    Please log in to take part in the discussion (add own reviews or comments).