Evolutionary Biology

Volume 27 of the series Evolutionary Biology pp 95-155

Recent Advances in Correlation Studies of Spatial Patterns of Genetic Variation

  • Bryan K. EppersonAffiliated withDepartment of Botany and Plant Sciences, University of California

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The spatial distribution of genetic variation has long been recognized as an important feature of population genetics. Our understanding of the basic spatial-temporal dynamics of genetic variation in populations continues to improve through theoretical and experimental studies. Dating back to the original work of Wright (1943) and Malécot (1948), theoretical work has indicated that spatial distributions of genetic variation should often differ strongly from random or uniform distributions. Nonrandomness, or spatial structuring, can strongly influence, and be strongly influenced by, many other important aspects of population genetics, including mating system, individual fitness, inbreeding depression, and the action of various other forms of natural selection, including environmental selection (e.g., Sokal, 1979; Epperson, 1990a). A large body of experimental studies of spatial structure of genetic variation confirms the theoretical predictions. Extensive reviews include those by Endler (1977), Bradshaw (1984), Nagylaki (1986), and Slatkin (1985, 1987).