The effects of inversion polymorphisms on patterns of neutral genetic diversity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The strong reduction in the frequency of recombination in heterozygotes for an inversion and a standard gene arrangement causes the arrangements to become partially isolated genetically, resulting in sequence divergence between them and changes in the levels of neutral variability at nucleotide sites within each arrangement class. Previous theoretical studies on the effects of inversions on neutral variability have either assumed that the population is panmictic or that it is divided into two populations subject to divergent selection. Here, the theory is extended to a model of an arbitrary number of demes connected by migration, using a finite island model with the inversion present at the same frequency in all demes. Recursion relations for mean pairwise coalescent times are used to obtain simple approximate expressions for diversity and divergence statistics for an inversion polymorphism at equilibrium under recombination and drift, and for the approach to equilibrium following the sweep of an inversion to a stable intermediate frequency. The effects of an inversion polymorphism on patterns of linkage disequilibrium are also examined. The reduction in effective recombination rate caused by population subdivision can have significant effects on these statistics. The theoretical results are discussed in relation to population genomic data on inversion polymorphisms, with an emphasis on Drosophila melanogaster. Methods are proposed for testing whether or not inversions are close to recombination-drift equilibrium, and for estimating the rate of recombinational exchange in heterozygotes for inversions; difficulties involved in estimating the ages of inversions are also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberiyad116
Number of pages21
Early online date22 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • inversion polymorphisms
  • genetic diversity
  • sequence divergence
  • recombination rate
  • population subdivision


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