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Ancestral population genomics with Jocx, a coalescent hidden markov model

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Coalescence theory lets us probe the past demographics of present-day genetic samples and much information about the past can be gleaned from variation in rates of coalescence event as we trace genetic lineages back in time. Fewer and fewer lineages will remain, however, so there is a limit to how far back we can explore. Without recombination, we would not be able to explore ancient speciation events because of this—any meaningful species concept would require that individuals of one species are closer related than they are to individuals of another species, once speciation is complete. Recombination, however, opens a window to the deeper past. By scanning along a genomic alignment, we get a sequential variant of the coalescence process as it looked at the time of the speciation. This pattern of coalescence times is fixed at speciation time and does not erode with time; although accumulated mutations and genomic rearrangements will eventually hide the signal, it enables us to glance at events in the past that would not be observable without recombination. So-called coalescence hidden Markov models allow us to exploit this, and in this chapter, we present the tool Jocx that uses a framework of these models to infer demographic parameters in ancient speciation events.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStatistical population genomics
EditorsJulien Y. Dutheil
Place of publicationNew York
PublisherHumana Press
Publication year1 Jan 2020
ISBN (print)978-1-0716-0198-3
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-0716-0199-0
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020
SeriesMethods in Molecular Biology

    Research areas

  • Coalescence, Genome analysis, Hidden Markov models, Population history inference

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