Skip to content


Genetics Selection Evolution

Open Access

Individual increase in inbreeding allows estimating effective sizes from pedigrees

  • Juan Pablo Gutiérrez1Email author,
  • Isabel Cervantes1,
  • Antonio Molina2,
  • Mercedes Valera3 and
  • Félix Goyache4
Genetics Selection Evolution200840:359

Received: 14 May 2007

Accepted: 9 January 2008

Published: 15 July 2008


We present here a simple approach to obtain reliable estimates of the effective population size in real world populations via the computation of the increase in inbreeding for each individual (delta F i ) in a given population. The values of delta F i are computed as t-root of 1 - (1 - F i ) where F i is the inbreeding coefficient and t is the equivalent complete generations for each individual. The values of delta F computed for a pre-defined reference subset can be averaged and used to estimate effective size. A standard error of this estimate of Ne can be further computed from the standard deviation of the individual increase in inbreeding. The methodology is demonstrated by applying it to several simulated examples and to a real pedigree in which other methodologies fail when considering reference subpopulations. The main characteristics of the approach and its possible use are discussed both for predictive purposes and for analyzing genealogies.


effective sizeincrease in inbreedingoverlapped generationgenetic contribution

(To access the full article, please see PDF)

Authors’ Affiliations

Departamento de Producción Animal, Facultad de Veterinaria, Madrid, Spain
Departamento de Genética, Universidad de Córdoba, Córdoba, Spain
Departamento de Ciencias Agro-Forestales, EUITA, Universidad de Sevilla, Sevilla, Spain
SERIDA-Somió, Gijón (Asturias), Spain


© INRA, EDP Sciences 2008