ABSTRACT: There is currently large interest in distinguishing the signatures of genetic variation produced by demographic events from those produced by natural selection. We propose a simple multilocus statistical test to identify candidate sites of selective sweeps with high power. The test is based on the variability profile measured in an array of linked microsatellites. We also show that the analysis of flanking markers drastically reduces the number of false positives among the candidates that are identified in a genomewide survey of unlinked loci and find that this property is maintained in many population-bottleneck scenarios. However, for a certain range of intermediately severe population bottlenecks we find genomic signatures that are very similar to those produced by a selective sweep. While in these worst-case scenarios the power of the proposed test remains high, the false-positive rate reaches values close to 50%. Hence, selective sweeps may be hard to identify even if multiple linked loci are analyzed. Nevertheless, the integration of information from multiple linked loci always leads to a considerable reduction of the false-positive rate compared to a genome scan of unlinked loci. We discuss the application of this test to experimental data from Drosophila melanogaster.
Genetics 02/2007; 175(1):207-18. · 4.01 Impact Factor