Genetical Research

Short Paper

An exact test for neutrality based on the Ewens sampling distribution

Montgomery Slatkina1

a1 Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720


Using the Ewens sampling distribution of selectively neutral alleles in a finite population, it is possible to develop an exact test of neutrality by finding the probability of each configuration with the same sample size and observed number of allelic classes. The exact test provides the probability of obtaining a configuration with the same or smaller probability as the observed configuration under the null hypothesis. The results from the exact test may be quite different from those from the Ewens—Watterson test based on the homozygosity in the sample. The advantages and disadvantages of using an exact test in this and other population genetic contexts are discussed.

(Received May 03 1994)

(Revised June 01 1994)