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Data from: The effect of neighborhood size on effective population size in theory and in practice


Nunney, Leonard (2016), Data from: The effect of neighborhood size on effective population size in theory and in practice, Dryad, Dataset,


The distinction between the effective size of a population (Ne) and the effective size of its neighborhoods (Nn) has sometimes become blurred. Ne reflects the effect of random sampling on the genetic composition of a population of size N, whereas Nn is a measure of within-population spatial genetic structure and depends strongly on the dispersal characteristics of a species. Although Nn is independent of Ne, the reverse is not true. Using simulations of a population of annual plants, it was found that the effect of Nn on Ne was well approximated by Ne=N/(1−FIS), where FIS (determined by Nn) was evaluated population wide. Nn only had a notable influence of increasing Ne as it became smaller (less than or equal to16). In contrast, the effect of Nn on genetic estimates of Ne was substantial. Using the temporal method (a standard two-sample approach) based on 1000 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), and varying sampling method, sample size (2–25% of N) and interval between samples (T=1–32 generations), estimates of Ne ranged from infinity to <0.1% of the true value (defined as Ne based on 100% sampling). Estimates were never accurate unless Nn and T were large. Three sampling techniques were tested: same-site resampling, different-site resampling and random sampling. Random sampling was the least biased method. Extremely low estimates often resulted when different-site resampling was used, especially when the population was large and the sample fraction was small, raising the possibility that this estimation bias could be a factor determining some very low Ne/N that have been published.

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