Challenges of detecting directional selection after a bottleneck: lessons from Sorghum bicolor. Academic Article uri icon


  • Multilocus surveys of sequence variation can be used to identify targets of directional selection, which are expected to have reduced levels of variation. Following a population bottleneck, the signal of directional selection may be hard to detect because many loci may have low variation by chance and the frequency spectrum of variation may be perturbed in ways that resemble the effects of selection. Cultivated Sorghum bicolor contains a subset of the genetic diversity found in its wild ancestor(s) due to the combined effects of a domestication bottleneck and human selection on traits associated with agriculture. As a framework for distinguishing between the effects of demography and selection, we sequenced 204 loci in a diverse panel of 17 cultivated S. bicolor accessions. Genomewide patterns of diversity depart strongly from equilibrium expectations with regard to the variance of the number of segregating sites, the site frequency spectrum, and haplotype configuration. Furthermore, gene genealogies of most loci with an excess of low frequency variants and/or an excess of segregating sites do not show the characteristic signatures of directional and diversifying selection, respectively. A simple bottleneck model provides an improved but inadequate fit to the data, suggesting the action of other population-level factors, such as population structure and migration. Despite a known history of recent selection, we find little evidence for directional selection, likely due to low statistical power and lack of an appropriate null model.

published proceedings

  • Genetics

author list (cited authors)

  • Hamblin, M. T., Casa, A. M., Sun, H., Murray, S. C., Paterson, A. H., Aquadro, C. F., & Kresovich, S.

citation count

  • 80

complete list of authors

  • Hamblin, Martha T||Casa, Alexandra M||Sun, Hong||Murray, Seth C||Paterson, Andrew H||Aquadro, Charles F||Kresovich, Stephen

publication date

  • June 2006