Likelihood computation and inference of demographic and mutational parameters from population genetic data under coalescent approximations

  • François Rousset
  • Champak Reddy Beeravolu
  • Raphaël Leblois


Likelihood methods are being developed for inference of migration rates and past demographic changes from population genetic data. We survey an approach for such inference using sequential importance sampling techniques derived from coalescent and diffusion theory. The consistent application and assessment of this approach has required the re-implementation of methods often considered in the context of computer experiments methods, in particular of Kriging which is used as a smoothing technique to infer a likelihood surface from likelihoods estimated in various parameter points, as well as reconsideration of methods for sampling the parameter space appropriately for such inference. We illustrate the performance and application of the whole tool chain on simulated and actual data, and highlight desirable developments in terms of data types and biological scenarios.

Special Issue on Models and Inference in Population Genetics