Document Type



Changes in local population size are expected to have an effect on the degree of genetic microdifferentiation. A decrease in population size is expected to lead to an increase in microdifferentiation, and an increase in population size to a decrease in microdifferentiation. These expectations are routinely used with historical and/or demographic data to evaluate changes in estimates of microdifferentiation obtained over time for human populations. Here I look more closely at these expectations by using simple mathematical models that relate a change in average effective population size to the degree of microdifferentiation. The direction of change in microdifferentiation is influenced by the migration structure of the populations and the proximity of the region to an equilibrium state. A change in population size always leads to a new equilibrium, but the speed at which this new equilibrium is reached depends on migration and time depth. A decline in population size in one generation always leads to an immediate increase in the degree of microdifferentiation. An increase in population size in one generation could lead to an initial decrease or increase in the degree of microdifferentiation or to no change at all. Consideration of the parameters of the models shows under what conditions such changes occur. The relevance of these models is explored using summary data from a number of human populations.