Estimating divergence time and ancestral effective population size of Bornean and Sumatran orangutan subspecies using a coalescent hidden Markov model.
Mailund T., Dutheil JY., Hobolth A., Lunter G., Schierup MH.
Due to genetic variation in the ancestor of two populations or two species, the divergence time for DNA sequences from two populations is variable along the genome. Within genomic segments all bases will share the same divergence-because they share a most recent common ancestor-when no recombination event has occurred to split them apart. The size of these segments of constant divergence depends on the recombination rate, but also on the speciation time, the effective population size of the ancestral population, as well as demographic effects and selection. Thus, inference of these parameters may be possible if we can decode the divergence times along a genomic alignment. Here, we present a new hidden Markov model that infers the changing divergence (coalescence) times along the genome alignment using a coalescent framework, in order to estimate the speciation time, the recombination rate, and the ancestral effective population size. The model is efficient enough to allow inference on whole-genome data sets. We first investigate the power and consistency of the model with coalescent simulations and then apply it to the whole-genome sequences of the two orangutan sub-species, Bornean (P. p. pygmaeus) and Sumatran (P. p. abelii) orangutans from the Orangutan Genome Project. We estimate the speciation time between the two sub-species to be thousand years ago and the effective population size of the ancestral orangutan species to be , consistent with recent results based on smaller data sets. We also report a negative correlation between chromosome size and ancestral effective population size, which we interpret as a signature of recombination increasing the efficacy of selection.