Population assignment in autopolyploids

D. L. Field*, L. M. Broadhurst, C. P. Elliott, A. G. Young

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the patterns of contemporary gene dispersal within and among populations is of critical importance to population genetics and in managing populations for conservation. In contrast to diploids, there are few studies of gene dispersal in autopolyploids, in part due to complex polysomic inheritance and genotype ambiguity. Here we develop a novel approach for population assignment for codominant markers for autotetraploids and autohexaploids. This method accounts for polysomic inheritance, unreduced gametes and unknown allele dosage. It can also utilise information regarding the origin and genotype of one parent for population assignment of maternal or paternal parents. Using simulations, we demonstrate that our approach achieves high levels of accuracy for assignment even when population divergence is low (FST ∼0.06) and with only 12 microsatellite loci. We also show that substantially higher accuracy is achieved when known maternal information is utilised, regardless of whether allele dosage is known. Although this novel method exhibited near identical levels of accuracy to Structure when population divergence was high, it performed substantially better for most parameters at moderate (FST =0.06) to low levels of divergence (FST =0.03). These methods fill an important gap in the toolset for autopolyploids and pave the way for investigating contemporary gene dispersal in a widespread group of organisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-401
Number of pages13
Issue number6
Early online date4 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


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