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Is genetic diversity really higher in large populations?

Hans Ellegren

Author affiliations

Department of Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18D, SE-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden

Citation and License

Journal of Biology 2009, 8:41  doi:10.1186/jbiol135

Published: 21 April 2009

Abstract

Analyses of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) have challenged the concept that genetic diversity within populations is governed by effective population size and mutation rate. A recent study in BMC Evolutionary Biology shows that variation in the rate of mutation rather than in population size is the main explanation for variations in mtDNA diversity observed among bird species.