The effect of genetic drift on the genetic structure of seven Irish populations was investigated using anthropometric data collected during the 1890s on 259 adult males. These populations ranged in size from 769 to 3757, were relatively stable over time, and were located within 119 km of one another. Two populations are known to have experienced considerable English admixture. Data on ten anthropometric variables (three body measures and seven craniofacial measures) were adjusted for age and used to compute a relationship (R ) matrix. The R matrix was converted into a distance measure and compared with a potential genetic drift distance measure, defined as (1/Ni + 1/Nj), where N i and Nj are the effective population sizes of groups i and j (derivation of this formula is presented). Distances were rank-transformed, and the correlation between their pairwise elements was computed using matrix permutation methods to assess significance. Under the hypothesis that drift affects anthropometric variation, these correlations are expected to be positive. The correlation between anthropometric distance and potential genetic drift distance is 0.123, which is not significantly different from 0 (P = 0.368). When a multiple regression model is used to adjust for geographic distance and English admixture, the partial correlation (0.369) is significant (p = 0.021). As part of further analysis of the genetic structure of these populations, the same analyses were repeated using a distance matrix derived from surname frequencies. The correlation of surname distance and potential genetic drift distance is 0.164, which is not significant (p = 0.264). When the multiple regression model is applied, the correlation is 0.401, which is borderline significant (p = 0.055). These results show the influence of genetic drift, local migration, and admixture on Irish population structure.
Relethford, John H.
"Genetic Drift and Anthropometric Variation in Ireland,"
2, Article 4.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/humbiol/vol63/iss2/4