Coalescent times and patterns of genetic diversity in species with facultative sex: effects of gene conversion, population structure and heterogeneity
Matthew Hartfield , Stephen I. Wright , Aneil F. Agrawal
Many diploid organisms undergo facultative sexual reproduction. However, little is currently known concerning the distribution of neutral genetic variation amongst facultative sexuals except in very simple cases. Understanding this distribution is important when making inferences about rates of sexual reproduction, effective population size and demographic history. Here, we extend coalescent theory in diploids with facultative sex to consider gene conversion, selfing, population subdivision, and temporal and spatial heterogeneity in rates of sex. In addition to analytical results for two-sample coalescent times, we outline a coalescent algorithm that accommodates the complexities arising from partial sex; this algorithm can be used to generate multi-sample coalescent distributions. A key result is that when sex is rare, gene conversion becomes a significant force in reducing diversity within individuals, which can remove genomic signatures of infrequent sex (the ‘Meselson Effect’) or entirely reverse the predictions. Our models offer improved methods for assessing the null model (I.e. neutrality) of patterns of molecular variation in facultative sexuals.
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