Selection efficiency and effective population size in Drosophila species

N. Petit, A. Barbadilla

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29 Citations (Scopus)


A corollary of the nearly neutral theory of molecular evolution is that the efficiency of natural selection depends on effective population size. In this study, we evaluated the differences in levels of synonymous polymorphism among Drosophila species and showed that these differences can be explained by differences in effective population size. The differences can have implications for the molecular evolution of the Drosophila species, as is suggested by our results showing that the levels of codon bias and the proportion of adaptive substitutions are both higher in species with higher levels of synonymous polymorphism. Moreover, species with lower synonymous polymorphism have higher levels of nonsynonymous polymorphism and larger content of repetitive sequences in their genomes, suggesting a diminished efficiency of selection in species with smaller effective population size. © 2008 European Society For Evolutionary Biology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515-526
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2009


  • Evolution
  • Genetic drift
  • Neutral theory
  • Population size
  • Synonymous polymorphism


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