Convergence time to the Ewens sampling formula in the infinite alleles Moran model

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1 Scopus citations


In this paper, we establish an upper bound for time to convergence to stationarity for the discrete time infinite alleles Moran model. If M is the population size and μ is the mutation rate, this bound gives a cutoff time of log(M μ)/μ generations. The stationary distribution for this process in the case of sampling without replacement is the Ewens sampling formula. We show that the bound for the total variation distance from the generation t distribution to the Ewens sampling formula is well approximated by one of the extreme value distributions, namely, a standard Gumbel distribution. Beginning with the card shuffling examples of Aldous and Diaconis and extending the ideas of Donnelly and Rodrigues for the two allele model, this model adds to the list of Markov chains that show evidence for the cutoff phenomenon. Because of the broad use of infinite alleles models, this cutoff sets the time scale of applicability for statistical tests based on the Ewens sampling formula and other tests of neutrality in a number of population genetic studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-206
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of mathematical biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Cutoff phenomena
  • Ewens sampling formula
  • Extreme value distribution
  • Hoppe's urn
  • Infinite alleles Moran model
  • Lines of descent
  • Markov chains

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Mathematics


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