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An exact test for neutrality based on the Ewens sampling distribution

  • Montgomery Slatkin (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 April 2009

Using the Ewens sampling distribution of selectively neutral alleles in a finite population, it is possible to develop an exact test of neutrality by finding the probability of each configuration with the same sample size and observed number of allelic classes. The exact test provides the probability of obtaining a configuration with the same or smaller probability as the observed configuration under the null hypothesis. The results from the exact test may be quite different from those from the Ewens—Watterson test based on the homozygosity in the sample. The advantages and disadvantages of using an exact test in this and other population genetic contexts are discussed.

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W. J. Ewens , (1972). The sampling theory of selectively neutral alleles. Theoretical Population Biology 3, 87112.

S. W. Guo , & E. A. Thompson , (1992). Performing the exact test of Hardy-Weinberg proportion for multiple alleles. Biometrics 48, 361372.

M. Kimura , (1968). Evolutionary rate at the molecular level. Nature 217, 624626.

C. R. Mehta , & N. R. Patel , (1983). A network algorithm for performing Fisher's exact test in r × c contingency tables. Journal of the American Statistical Association, Series B78, 427434.

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Genetics Research
  • ISSN: 0016-6723
  • EISSN: 1469-5073
  • URL: /core/journals/genetics-research
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