Detecting range expansions from genetic data

Co-Author: Monty Slatkin

Populations are often structured, in the sense that individuals living next to each other are often related. This paper, we develop a statistic to test for equilibrium isolation-by-distance. Equilibrium isolation-by-distance implies a constant and symmetric population structure, and deviations can be useful in many contexts. In this paper, we look at range expansions, the process where a species expands its range from a small origin. We show that we can detect these expansions, as well as estimate the most likely origin.

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