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Population dynamics of DNA fingerprint patterns within and between populations

  • Li Jin (a1) and Ranajit Chakraborty (a1)

Summary

DNA fingerprint is a pattern of a variable number of bands (DNA fragments) with different sizes on a Southern gel for each individual, generated by one or many VNTR loci. Genetic divergence between individuals within and between populations can be studied in terms of number of shared bands between individuals. Using a population genetic model we show that the expectations of measures of genetic distance between populations based on band sharing data from DNA fingerprint patterns are functions of composite parameters M = 4Nv, and time of divergence (t) between populations, where N is the effective size of the populations, and ν, the mutation rate. The expected genetic distance remains linear with time of divergence at least up to N generations as long as the average heterozygosity at the DNA fingerprint loci remains at or below 90%. Neither incomplete knowledge of the allele frequencies at each locus, nor the unknown number of loci underlying DNA fingerprint pattern, compromise these evolutionary dynamics of DNA fingerprint patterns. Applications of this theory to data on three human populations, and review of literature indicate that co-migration of alleles, and the presence of syntenic loci underlying the fingerprint pattern have little impact of the reliability of evolutionary conclusions from DNA fingerprint studies.

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References

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