Authors: Chao, Anne; Jost, Lou; Hsieh, T. C.; Ma, K. H.; Sherwin, William B.; Rollins, Lee Ann
Source: PLOS ONE, 10 (6), JUN 11 2015
Brief summary of the paper: Shannon entropy H and related measures are increasingly used in molecular ecology and population genetics because (1) unlike measures based on heterozygosity or allele number, these measures weigh alleles in proportion to their population fraction, thus capturing a previously-ignored aspect of allele frequency distributions that may be important in many applications; (2) these measures connect directly to the rich predictive mathematics of information theory; (3) Shannon entropy is completely additive and has an explicitly hierarchical nature; and (4) Shannon entropy-based differentiation measures obey strong monotonicity properties that heterozygosity-based measures lack.
We derive simple new expressions for the expected values of the Shannon entropy of the equilibrium allele distribution at a neutral locus in a single isolated population under two models of mutation: the infinite allele model and the stepwise mutation model.
Surprisingly, this complex stochastic system for each model has an entropy expressable as a simple combination of well-known mathematical functions. Moreover, entropy- and heterozygosity-based measures for each model are linked by simple relationships that are shown by simulations to be approximately valid even far from equilibrium.
We also identify a bridge between the two models of mutation. We apply our approach to subdivided populations which follow the finite island model, obtaining the Shannon entropy of the equilibrium allele distributions of the subpopulations and of the total population.
We also derive the expected mutual information and normalized mutual information (“Shannon differentiation”) between subpopulations at equilibrium, and identify the model parameters that determine them.
We apply our measures to data from the common starling (Sturnus vulgaris) in Australia. Our measures provide a test for neutrality that is robust to violations of equilibrium assumptions, as verified on real world data from starlings.