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Darwinian DetectivesRevealing the Natural History of Genes and Genomes$
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Norman A. Johnson

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195306750

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195306750.001.0001

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Detecting Positive Selection

Detecting Positive Selection

(p.57) 4 Detecting Positive Selection
Darwinian Detectives

Norman A. Johnson

Oxford University Press

Positive natural selection, though rare in comparison with negative selection, is the main evolutionary force responsible for adaptive evolutionary change. Using the neutral theory to generate null hypotheses, evolutionary geneticists have developed tests for detecting positive selection. Several of these tests make use of DNA sequence data sets that contain information on both variation existing within a species (polymorphism) and differences accumulated between species (divergence). This chapter focuses on the McDonald-Krietman test, a powerful but relatively simple test of detecting positive selection. Also discussed is how inferences about the action of selection can be made through the examination of linkage disequilibrium, patterns of correlations of genetic variants at different (but linked) sites. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the legacy of Kimura and his neutral theory of molecular evolution.

Keywords:   adaptive evolutionary change, DNA, Kimura, linkage disequilibrium, McDonald-Kreitman test, neutral theory of molecular evolution, polymorphism, positive selection

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