A method for estimating the selfing rate using DNA sequence data was recently proposed by Milligan. Unfortunately, a number of errors make interpretation of his results problematic. In the present paper we first show how the usual coalescent process can be adapted to models that include selfing, and then use this result to find moment estimators as well as the likelihood surface for the selfing rate, s, and the scaled mutation rate, θ. We conclude that, regardless of the method used, large sample sizes are necessary to estimate s with any degree of certainty, and that the estimate is always highly sensitive to recent changes in the true value.

  • Received August 15, 1996.
  • Accepted March 28, 1997.