A new method for the partition of allelic diversity within and between subpopulations
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A method is proposed for the analysis of allelic diversity in the context of subdivided populations. The definition of an allelic distance between subpopulations allows for the partition of total allelic diversity into within- and between-subpopulation components, in a way analogous to the classical partition of gene diversity. A new definition of allelic differentiation, AST, between subpopulations results from this partition, and is contrasted with the concept of allelic richness differentiation. The partition of allelic diversity makes it possible to establish the relative contribution of each subpopulation to within and between-subpopulation components of diversity with implications in priorisation for conservation. A comparison between this partition and that corresponding to allelic richness is illustrated with an example. Computer simulations are used to investigate the behaviour of the new statistic AST in comparison with FST for a finite island model under a range of mutation and migration rates. AST has less dependence on migration rate than FST for large values of migration rate, but the opposite occurs for low migration rates. In addition, the variance in the estimates of AST is higher than that of FST for low mutation rates, but the opposite for high mutation rates.