Gene Surfing in Expanding Populations

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Gene Surfing in Expanding Populations

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Title: Gene Surfing in Expanding Populations
Author: Hallatschek, Oskar; Nelson, David R.

Note: Order does not necessarily reflect citation order of authors.

Citation: Hallatschek, Oskar, and David Nelson. 2008. Gene surfing in expanding populations. Theoretical Population Biology 73(1): 158-170.
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Abstract: Spatially resolved genetic data is increasingly used to reconstruct the migrational history of species. To assist such inference, we study, by means of simulations and analytical methods, the dynamics of neutral gene frequencies in a population undergoing a continual range expansion in one dimension. During such a colonization period, lineages can fix at the wave front by means of a "surfing" mechanism [Edmonds C.A., Lillie A.S. & Cavalli-Sforza L.L. (2004) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 101: 975-979]. We quantify this phenomenon in terms of (i) the spatial distribution of lineages that reach fixation and, closely related, (ii) the continual loss of genetic diversity (heterozygosity) at the wave front, characterizing the approach to fixation. Our simulations show that an effective population size can be assigned to the wave that controls the (observable) gradient in heterozygosity left behind the colonization process. This effective population size is markedly higher in pushed waves than in pulled waves, and increases only sub-linearly with deme size. To explain these and other findings, we develop a versatile analytical approach, based on the physics of reaction-diffusion systems, that yields simple predictions for any deterministic population dynamics.
Published Version: doi:10.1016/j.tpb.2007.08.008
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