Multilocus structure of natural populations of Hordeum spontaneum

A. H. D. Brown, Marcus W. Feldman, Eviatar Nevo

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The association of alleles among different loci was studied in natural populations of Hordeum spontaneum, the evolutionary progenitor of cultivated barley. The variance of the number of heterozygous loci in two randomly chosen gametes affords a useful measure of such association. The behavior of this statistic in several particular models is described. Generally, linkage (gametic phase) disequilibrium tends to increase the variance above the value expected under complete independence. This increase is greatest when disequilibria are such as to maximize the sum of squares of the two-locus gametic frequencies.—When data on several loci per individual are available, the observed variance may be tested for its agreement with that expected under the hypothesis of complete interlocus independence, using the sampling theory of this model. When applied to allozyme data from 26 polymorphic populations of wild barley, this test demonstrated the presence of geographically widespread multilocus organization. On average, the variance was 80% higher than expected under random association. Gametic frequencies for four esterase loci in both of these populations of wild barley and two composite crosses of cultivated barley were analyzed. Most generations of the composites showed less multilocus structure, as measured by the indices of association, than the wild populations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-536
Number of pages14
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Oct 1980


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