The sampling distribution of linkage disequilibrium.
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The probabilities of obtaining particular samples of gametes with two completely linked loci are derived. It is assumed that the population consists of N diploid, randomly mating individuals, that each of the two loci mutate according to the infinite allele model at a rate mu and that the population is at equilibrium. When 4N mu is small, the most probable samples of gametes are those that segregate only two alleles at either locus. The probabilities of various samples of gametes are discussed. The results show that most samples with completely linked loci have either a very small or a very large association between the alleles of each locus. This causes the distribution of linkage disequilibrium to be skewed and the distribution of the correlation coefficient to be bimodal. The correlation coefficient is commonly used as a test statistic with a chi square distribution and yet has a bimodal distribution when the loci are completely linked. Thus, such a test is not likely to be accurate unless the rate of recombination between the loci and/or the effective population size are sufficiently large enough so that the loci can be treated as unlinked.
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