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Kinship and Population Subdivision


The coefficient of kinship between two diploid organisms describes their overall genetic similarity to each other relative to some base population. For example, kinship between parent and offspring of 1/4 describes gene sharing in excess of random sharing in a random mating population. In a subdivided population the statistic F st describes gene sharing within subdivisions in the same way. Since F st among human populations on a world scale is reliably 10 to 15%, kinship between two individuals of the same human population is equivalent to kinship between grandparent and grandchild or between half siblings. The widespread assertion that this is small and insignificant should be reexamined.

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Correspondence to Henry Harpending.

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Harpending, H. Kinship and Population Subdivision. Population and Environment 24, 141–147 (2002).

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  • coefficient of kinship
  • coefficient of relationship
  • inclusive fitness