DNA fingerprinting exhibits multilocus genotypes of individuals, detected by the use of a single multilocus probe. Consequently, population data on DNA fingerprinting do not provide a complete characterization of the genetic variation in terms of allele-frequency distributions, since neither the number of loci nor the locus affiliation of alleles is directly observable. Yet DNA fingerprinting has been proved to be a cost-effective method of detecting hypervariable polymorphisms in several organisms, where the traditional loci fail to detect enough variation for microevolutionary studies. In the present paper we demonstrate that the above-mentioned features of DNA fingerprinting data do not cause any serious problem when they are used in evolutionary studies. Bias-corrected estimators of Nei's standard and minimum genetic distances are derived, and, by an application of this theory to data on seven short tandem repeat loci in three major human populations, it is shown that these modified measures of genetic distances based on DNA fingerprint patterns are quite close to Nei's distances based on locus-specific allele frequencies. Empirical as well as theoretical support of the adequacy of such genetic distances from DNA fingerprinting data is also discussed, and it indicates that the technical limitations of DNA fingerprinting should not deter the use of the method for short-term evolutionary studies.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Molecular Biology and Evolution|
|State||Published - 1 Jan 1994|