The detection of linkage disequilibrium in molecular sequence data.
R C Lewontin


Studies of genetic variation in natural populations at the sequence level usually show that most polymorphic sites are very asymmetrical in allele frequencies, with the rarer allele at a site near fixation. When the rarer allele at a site is present only a few times in the sample, say below five representatives, it becomes very difficult to detect linkage disequilibrium between sites from tests of association. This is a consequence of the numerical properties of even the most powerful test of association, Fisher's exact test. Sites with fewer than five representatives in the sample should be excluded from association tests, but this generally leaves few site pairs eligible for testing. A test for overall linkage disequilibrium, based on the sign of the observed linkage disequilibria, is derived which can use all the data. It is shown that more power can be achieved by increasing the length of sequence determined than by increasing the number of genomes sampled for the same total work.