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Drift variances of heterozygosity and genetic distance in transient states

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 April 2009

Wen-Hsiung Li
Centre for Demographic and Population Genetics University of Texas at Houston, Texas 77025
Masatoshi Nei
Centre for Demographic and Population Genetics University of Texas at Houston, Texas 77025
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Using the moments of gene frequencies, the drift variances of heterozygosity and genetic distance in transient states have been studied under the assumption that all mutations are selectively neutral. Interestingly, this approach provides a simple derivation of Stewart's formula for the variance of heterozygosity at steady state. The results obtained indicate that if all alleles in the initial population are equally frequent, the standard derivation of heterozygosity is very small and increases linearly with time in the early generations. On the other hand, if the initial allele frequencies deviate appreciably from equality, then the standard deviation in the early generations is much larger but increases linearly with the square root of time. Under certain conditions, the standard deviation of genetic distance also increases linearly with time. Numerical computations have shown that the standard deviations of heterozygosity and genetic distance relative to their means are so large that a large number of loci must be used in estimating the average heterozygosity and genetic distance per locus.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1975



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