Reconstructing past population size from present day genetic data is a major goal of population genetics. Recent empirical studies infer population size history using coalescent-based models applied to a small number of individuals. Here we provide tight bounds on the amount of exact coalescence time data needed to recover the population size history of a single, panmictic population at a certain level of accuracy. In practice, coalescence times are estimated from sequence data and so our lower bounds should be taken as rather conservative.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Population size