Distinguishing between hot-spots and melting-pots of genetic diversity using haplotype connectivity

Binh Nguyen, Andreas Spillner, Brent C. Emerson, Vincent Moulton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


We introduce a method to help identify how the genetic diversity of a species within a geographic region might have arisen. This problem appears, for example, in the context of identifying refugia in phylogeography, and in the conservation of biodiversity where it is a factor in nature reserve selection. Complementing current methods for measuring genetic diversity, we analyze pairwise distances between the haplotypes of a species found in a geographic region and derive a quantity, called haplotype connectivity, that aims to capture how divergent the haplotypes are relative to one another. We propose using haplotype connectivity to indicate whether, for geographic regions that harbor a highly diverse collection of haplotypes, diversity evolved inside a region over a long period of time (a "hot-spot") or is the result of a more recent mixture (a "melting-pot"). We describe how the haplotype connectivity for a collection of haplotypes can be computed efficiently and briefly discuss some related optimization problems that arise in this context. We illustrate the applicability of our method using two previously published data sets of a species of beetle from the genus Brachyderes and a species of tree from the genus Pinus.
Original languageEnglish
Article number19
Number of pages10
JournalAlgorithms for Molecular Biology
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2010

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