Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version



Published in The Journal of Heredity 92:6 (November 2001), pp. 497-502. Copyright © 2001 The American Genetic Association; published by Oxford University Press. Used by permission.
This research was originally presented in a paper delivered at a symposium entitled “Primate Evolutionary Genetics” sponsored by the American Genetic Association, San Diego, CA, USA, May 19–20, 2001.


Here we report an assessment of the determinants of effective population size (Ne) in species with overlapping generations. Specifically, we used a stochastic demographic model to investigate the influence of different life-history variables on Ne/N (where N = population census number) and the influence of sex differences in life-history variables on Ne for loci with dif¬ferent modes of inheritance. We applied an individual-based modeling approach to two datasets: one from a natural popu¬lation of savannah baboons (Papio cynocephalus) in the Amboseli basin of southern Kenya and one from a human tribal pop¬ulation (the Gainj of Papua New Guinea). Simulation-based estimates of Ne/N averaged 0.329 for the Amboseli baboon population (SD = 0.116, 95% CI = 0.172 – 0.537) and 0.786 for the Gainj (SD = 0.184, 95% CI = 0.498 – 1.115). Although variance in male fitness had a substantial impact on Ne/N in each of the two primate populations, ratios of Ne values for au¬tosomal and sex-linked loci exhibited no significant departures from Poisson-expected values. In each case, similarities in sex-specific Ne values were attributable to the unexpectedly high variance in female fitness. Variance in male fitness resulted primarily from age-dependent variance in reproductive success, whereas variance in female fitness resulted primarily from stochastic variance in survival during the reproductive phase.