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Evolution: The Molecular Landscape

Cold Spring Harbor’s 74th Symposium
The Molecular Landscape
Edited by Bruce Stillman,
David Stewart, and
Jan Witkowski,
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory


Evolution Chapter 16 Discussion Questions

DQ 16.1

Dobzhansky and Wright’s measurement of gene flow in Drosophila pseudoobscura suffered from several problems (see p. 442). How could you make a more realistic measurement? What organism might allow the most accurate direct measurement of the rate of gene flow?

DQ 16.2

One of the aims in managing an endangered species is to prevent loss of genetic variation. Does subdividing the population help slow this loss?

DQ 16.3

HIV shows strong genetic divergence within an infected patient (see Table 16.1). What might the consequences of this fine-scaled structuring be?

DQ 16.4

Is it plausible that the geographic patterns in the snail Cepaea nemoralis, shown in Figure 16.1B,C, can be explained as an equilibrium between random drift and gene flow? How would you test alternative hypotheses?

DQ 16.5

What characteristics of the coalescent process make it difficult to infer population structure from genetic data?

DQ 16.6

Genetic data can be used to make inferences about the history of a population. Such studies follow two different approaches: analysis of allele frequencies at multiple loci and analysis of genealogies at one or a few loci (often, using mitochondrial DNA). What are the advantages and disadvantages of these alternative approaches? (Hey and Machado [2003] give a useful review of this issue.)


Hey J. and Machado C.A. 2003. The study of structured populations—New hope for a difficult and divided science. Nat. Rev. Genet. 4: 535–543.


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