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Genetic Distance between Populations

A measure of genetic distance (D) based on the identity of genes between populations is formulated. It is defined as D = -logeI, where I is the normalized identity of genes between two populations. This genetic distance measures the accumulated allele differences per locus. If the rate of gene substitution per year is constant, it is linearly related to the divergence time between populations under sexual isolation. It is also linearly related to geographical distance or area in some migration models. Since D is a measure of the accumulated number of codon differences per locus, it can also be estimated from data on amino acid sequences in proteins even for a distantly related species. Thus, if enough data are available, genetic distance between any pair of organisms can be measured in terms of D. This measure is applicable to any kind of organism without regard to ploidy or mating scheme.