Joined: June 2009
Oh and an additional response from Sanford. This is an explanation as to why such low population sizes (1000) were used and how this doesn't affect their conclusions. In addition it's a response to the question of why mice (as an example of a pretty fast reproducing species) have not yet gone extinct.
|Hi Jorge - Please tell these folks that I appreciate their interest in Mendel, and if they see certain ways we can make it more realistic, we will try and accommodate them.|
Mendel is fundamentally a research tool, and so offers a high degree of user-specification. There is no inherently "realistic" population size - it just depends on what circumstance you wish to study. The default setting for population size is set at 1000 because it is convenient - whether you are using the Windows version on your laptop, or any other computer, you are less likely to run out of memory. We are proceeding to study population size and also population sub-structure. I believe larger populations should realistically be set up as multiple tribes with a given migration rate between tribes. Under these conditions we see little improvement with larger population sizes. But they are welcome to do bigger runs if they have the memory resources.
The mouse question is interesting. I think one would need
to change various parameters for mouse - each species is
different. I would like to know the maximal (not minimal)
generation time - do they know? This would define the
maximal time to extinction. I have read that the per
generation mutation rate is about an order of magnitude
lower in mouse - which makes sense if there are fewer cell
divisions in the generative cells between generations.
I would be happy to do such experiments when I get the
Best - John