Tractable stochastic models of evolution for loosely linked loci

Paul A. Jenkins, Paul Fearnhead, Yun S. Song

Comments: 32 pages, 1 figure

Subjects: Probability (math.PR); Populations and Evolution (q-bio.PE)

Of fundamental importance in statistical genetics is to compute the sampling distribution, or likelihood, for a sample of genetic data from some stochastic evolutionary model. For DNA sequence data with inter-locus recombination, standard models include the Wright-Fisher diffusion with recombination and its dual genealogical process, the ancestral recombination graph. However, under neither of these models is the sampling distribution available in closed-form, and their computation is extremely difficult. In this paper we derive two new stochastic population genetic models, one a diffusion and the other a coalescent process, which are much simpler than the standard models, but which capture their key properties for large recombination rates. In the former case, we show that the sampling distribution is available in closed form. We further demonstrate that when we consider the sampling distribution as an asymptotic expansion in inverse powers of the recombination parameter, the sampling distributions of the two models agree with the standard ones up to the first two orders.