Variation within a species may be structured both geographically and by genetic background. We review the effects of such structuring on neutral variants, using a framework based on the coalescent process. Short-term effects of sex differences and age structure can be averaged out using fast timescale approximations, allowing a simple general treatment of effective population size and migration. We consider the effects of geographic structure on variation within and between local populations, first in general terms, and then for specific migration models. We discuss the close parallels between geographic structure and stable types of genetic structure caused by selection, including balancing selection and background selection. The effects of departures from stability, such as selective sweeps and population bottlenecks, are also described. Methods for distinguishing population history from the effects of ongoing gene flow are discussed. We relate the theoretical results to observed patterns of variation in natural populations.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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