Selection Versus Random Drift: Long-Term Polymorphism Persistence in Small Populations (Evidence and Modelling)
Our data on a subterranean mammal, Spalax ehrenbergi, and other evidence, indicate that appreciable polymorphism can be preserved in small isolated populations consisting of several dozens of, or a hundred, individuals. Current theoretical models predict fast gene fixation in small panmictic populations without selection, mutation, or gene inflow. Using simple multilocus models, we demonstrate here that moderate stabilizing selection (with stable or fluctuating optimum) for traits controlled by additive genes could oppose random fixation in such isolates during thousands of generations. We also show that in selection-free models polymorphism persists only for a few hundred generations even under high mutation rates. Our multi-chromosome models challenge the hitchhiking hypothesis of polymorphism maintenance for many neutral loci due to close linkage with few selected loci.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B
- Pub Date:
- March 1997