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Effective population size

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In population genetics, the effective population size is the is the number of adults in a population contributing offspring to the next generation. The parameter allows one to calculate the effects of selection and genetic drift on a population. It is a composite measure of actual ("census") population size, population structure, and reproductive mode.

Terms that contribute to effective population size are:

  1. census size
  2. whether or not selfing occurs
  3. relative frequency of the two sexes
  4. fluctuations in population size through time
  5. variance in fitness from non-genetic (environmental) sources
  6. whether or not there are overlapping generations
  7. spatial distribution in the population

Generally, effective population size is smaller than the census size, and sometimes much smaller.


This page is part of the EvoWiki encyclopedia of genetics and molecular biology.

Topics: Genetics - Transmission genetics - Molecular genetics - Population genetics - Quantitative genetics - Molecular biology - Genomics
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