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Population Genetics

Population Genetics

by W.J. Ewens
Publication Date: 09/11/2011
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Population genetics is the mathematical investigation of the changes in the genetic structure of populations brought about by selection, mutation, inbreeding, migration, and other phenomena, together with those random changes deriving from chance events. These changes are the basic components of evolutionary progress, and an understanding of their effect is therefore necessary for an informed discussion of the reasons for and nature of evolution. It would, however, be wrong to pretend that a mathematical theory, depending as it must on a large number of simplifying assump tions, should be accepted unreservedly and that its conclusions should be accepted uncritically. No-one would pretend that in the event of disagreement between observation and mathematical prediction, the discrepancy is due to anything other than the inadequacy of the mathematical treatment. The biological world is, of course, far too complex for the study of population genetics to be simply a branch of applied mathematics, so that while we are concerned here with the mathematical theory, I have tried to indicate which of our results should continue to apply in a context wider than that in which they are formally derived. The difficulties involved in the joint discussions of mathematical and genetical problems are obvious enough. I have tried to aim this book rather more at the mathematician than at the geneticist, and for this reason a brief glossary of common genetical terms is included.
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