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Rates of decay of linkage disequilibrium under two-locus models of selection

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The effect of selection and linkage on the decay of linkage disequilibrium, D, is investigated for a hierarchy of two-locus models. The method of analysis rests upon a qualitative classification of the dynamic of D under selection relative to the neutral dynamic. To eliminate the confounding effects of gene frequency change, the behavior of D is first studied with gene frequencies fixed at their invariant values. Second, the results are extended to certain special situations where gene frequencies are changing simultaneously.

A wide variety of selection regimes can cause an acceleration of the rate of decay of D relative to the neutral rate. Specifically, the asymptotic rate of decay is always faster than the neutral rate in the neighborhood of a stable equilibrium point, when viabilities are additive or only one locus is selected. This is not necessarily the case for models in which there is nonzero additive epistasis. With multiplicative viabilities, decay is always accelerated near a stable boundary equilibrium, but decay is only faster near the stable central equilibrium (with\(\hat D\) = 0) if linkage is sufficiently loose. In the symmetric viability model, decay may even be retarded near a stable boundary equilibrium. Decay is only accelerated near a stable corner equilibrium when the double homozygote is more fit than the double heterozygotes. Decay near a stable edge equilibrium may be retarded if there is loose linkage. With symmetric viabilities there is usually an acceleration of the decay process for gene frequencies near 1/2 when the central equilibrium (with\(\hat D\) = 0) is stable. This is always the case when the sign of the epistasis is negative or zero.

Conversely, the decay ofD is retarded in the neighborhood of a stable equilibrium in the multiplicative and symmetric viability models if any of the conditions above are violated. Near an unstable equilibrium of any of the models considered,D may either increase or decay at a rate slower than, equal to, or faster than the neutral rate. These analytic results are supplemented by numerical studies of the symmetric viability model.

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Asmussen, M.A., Clegg, M.T. Rates of decay of linkage disequilibrium under two-locus models of selection. J. Math. Biology 14, 37–70 (1982). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02154752

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Key words

  • Dynamics
  • Linkage disequilibrium
  • Selection