Exact calculation of the joint allele frequency spectrum for isolation with migration models

Jody Hey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Population genomic datasets collected over the past decade have spurred interest in developing methods that can utilize massive numbers of loci for inference of demographic and selective histories of populations. The allele frequency spectrum (AFS) provides a convenient statistic for such analysis, and, accordingly, much attention has been paid to predicting theoretical expectations of the AFS under a number of different models. However, to date, exact solutions for the joint AFS of two or more populations under models of migration and divergence have not been found. Here, we present a novel Markov chain representation of the coalescent on the state space of the joint AFS that allows for rapid, exact calculation of the joint AFS under isolation with migration (IM) models. In turn, we show how our Markov chain method, in the context of composite likelihood estimation, can be used for accurate inference of parameters of the IM model using SNP data. Lastly, we apply our method to recent whole genome datasets from African Drosophila melanogaster.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-253
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics


  • AFS
  • Composite likelihood
  • Isolation with migration
  • Markov chains

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