INVITED REVIEW: What is a population? An empirical evaluation of some genetic methods for identifying the number of gene pools and their degree of connectivity

  title={INVITED REVIEW: What is a population? An empirical evaluation of some genetic methods for identifying the number of gene pools and their degree of connectivity},
  author={Robin S. Waples and Oscar E. Gaggiotti},
  journal={Molecular Ecology},
We review commonly used population definitions under both the ecological paradigm (which emphasizes demographic cohesion) and the evolutionary paradigm (which emphasizes reproductive cohesion) and find that none are truly operational. We suggest several quantitative criteria that might be used to determine when groups of individuals are different enough to be considered ‘populations’. Units for these criteria are migration rate (m) for the ecological paradigm and migrants per generation (Nm… 
Integration of genetic and demographic data to assess population risk in a continuously distributed species
It is suggested that sage-grouse subpopulations in northern Wyoming are at greater risk of extirpation than the southern sub Populations due to smaller census and effective population sizes and higher variability within subpopulation.
Evaluating the performance of a multilocus Bayesian method for the estimation of migration rates
The performance of a recent Bayesass method, bayesass, is evaluated, which allows the estimation of recent migration rates among populations, as well as the inbreeding coefficient of each local population.
Are we underestimating the occurrence of sympatric populations?
The findings suggest that cases of cryptic sympatry may have passed unnoticed in population genetic screenings using number of loci typical of the pre‐genomics era and may be more common than hitherto thought.
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An accurate understanding of population structure is critical to the success of any management effort. Although there have been a number of genetic methods developed to detect population structure,
Two branches, ecological and genetic, in studying the species population structure: History, problems, and solutions
A two-step approach is suggested for studying the species population structure using both the ecological and genetic markers and the notion of representative samples with respect to the population structure, hierarchy of EGUs–populations, strategies of population management, and selection of the management units for optimizing exploitation, reproduction, and conservation of species fragments are discussed.
Genetically defining populations is of limited use for evaluating and managing human impacts on gene flow
Geneticists working on gene flow in wild organisms need to frame questions relevant to specific management needs and carefully consider the language and approaches employed.
Dispersal in a house sparrow metapopulation: An integrative case study of genetic assignment calibrated with ecological data and pedigree information
It is shown that assignment accuracy is high even at low levels of genetic differentiation and that it increases with the proportion of a population that has been sampled, and that dispersal studies integrating both ecological and genetic data provide robust assessments of the dispersal patterns in natural populations.
Genetic estimates of contemporary effective population size: what can they tell us about the importance of genetic stochasticity for wild population persistence?
A review of the body of empirical estimates of effective population size for wild populations obtained with the temporal genetic method and published since Frankham's (1995 ) review finds that particularly model selection and sampling require more attention in future studies.
Disentangling the relative merits and disadvantages of parentage analysis and assignment tests for inferring population connectivity
A forward-time agent-based model that incorporates relevant natural history and physical oceanography for 135 Kellet’s whelk populations from Southern California dispel a number of common misconceptions in the field and highlight areas for both future research and methodological improvements.
Challenges to assessing connectivity between massive populations of the Australian plague locust
An example of how the influence of large population sizes can preclude genetic approaches from assessing demographic population structuring, even at a continental scale is presented.


Dispersal, Gene Flow, and Population Structure
  • A. Bohonak
  • Biology, Environmental Science
    The Quarterly Review of Biology
  • 1999
The accuracy of gene flow estimates is unknown in most natural populations because direct estimates of dispersal are often not possible. These estimates can be highly imprecise or even biased because
The estimation of population differentiation with microsatellite markers
This review discusses the consequences of different temporal and spatial sampling strategies on differentiation estimation, and moves to statistical problems directly associated with the estimation of population structuring itself, with particular emphasis on the effects of high mutation rates and mutation patterns of microsatellite loci.
Mitochondrial DNA Polymorphism and a Connection Between Genetics and Demography of Relevance to Conservation
A special demographic significance is suggested for the perspectives that have been provided by another genetic systemmitochondrial (mt) DNA, such as within-population heterozygosity, between-population gene flow, and the genetic distinctiveness of taxonomic units.
Detecting the number of clusters of individuals using the software structure: a simulation study
It is found that in most cases the estimated ‘log probability of data’ does not provide a correct estimation of the number of clusters, K, and using an ad hoc statistic ΔK based on the rate of change in the log probability between successive K values, structure accurately detects the uppermost hierarchical level of structure for the scenarios the authors tested.
Group selection for a polygenic behavioral trait: estimating the degree of population subdivision.
  • J. Crow, K. Aoki
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 1984
Nei's GST, defined by (F0-F)/(1-F), is a measure of population subdivision that depends mainly on the absolute number of migrants per generation, moves rapidly to near equilibrium, and is independent of the number of alleles.
Separating the wheat from the chaff: patterns of genetic differentiation in high gene flow species
This article discusses strategies to maximize the signal:nolse ratio in genetic studies of marine species and suggests a quantitative method to correct for bias due to a common sampling problem.
Inference of population structure using multilocus genotype data.
A model-based clustering method for using multilocus genotype data to infer population structure and assign individuals to populations that can be applied to most of the commonly used genetic markers, provided that they are not closely linked.
Assignment methods: matching biological questions with appropriate techniques.
Multilocus Methods for Estimating Population Sizes, Migration Rates and Divergence Time, With Applications to the Divergence of Drosophila pseudoobscura and D. persimilis
A Markov chain Monte Carlo method for estimating the posterior probability distribution of model parameters is applied to a large multilocus data set from Drosophila pseudoobscura and D. persimilis, with considerable variation in gene flow estimates among loci, in both directions between the species.
Bayesian analysis of genetic differentiation between populations.
A Bayesian method for estimating hidden population substructure using multilocus molecular markers and geographical information provided by the sampling design is introduced, suggesting that this method is capable of estimating a population subst structure, while not artificially enforcing a substructure when it does not exist.