The linkage disequilibrium in a subdivided populaton is shown to be equal to the sum of the average linkage disequilibrium for all subpopulations and the covariance between gene frequencies of the loci concerned. Thus, in a subdivided population the linkage disequilibrium may not be 0 even if the linkage disequilibrium in each subpopulation is 0. If a population is divided into two subpopulations between which migration occurs, the asymptotic rate of approach to linkage equilibrium is equal to either r or 2(m1 + m2) - (m1 + m2)2, whichever is smaller, where r is the recombination value and m1 and m2 are the proportions of immigrants in subpopulations 1 and 2, respectively. Thus, if migration rate is high compared with recombination value, the change of linkage disequilibrium in subdivided populations is similar to that of a single random mating population. On the other hand, if migration rate is low, the approach to lnkage equilibrium may be retarded in subdivided populations. If isolated populations begin to exchange genes by migration, linkage disequilibrium may increase temporarily even for neutral loci. If overdominant selection operates and the equilibrium gene frequencies are different in the two subpopulations, a permanent linkage disequilibrium may be produced without epistasis in each subpopulation.

  • Received October 12, 1972.