Evaluating genetic drift in time-series evolutionary analysis.

18 Apr 2018

The Wright-Fisher model is the most popular population model for describing the behaviour of evolutionary systems with a finite population size. Approximations have commonly been used but the model itself has rarely been tested against time-resolved genomic data. Here, we evaluate the extent to which it can be inferred as the correct model under a likelihood framework. Given genome-wide data from an evolutionary experiment, we validate the Wright-Fisher drift model as the better option for describing evolutionary trajectories in a finite population. This was found by evaluating its performance against a Gaussian model of allele frequency propagation. However, we note a range of circumstances under which standard Wright-Fisher drift cannot be correctly identified.