In another section of his 1922 article, Fisher considered the problem of a mutant gene that can be transmitted to a random number of offspring with a given probability distribution. The problem was formally the same as that of the extinction of family names but in a genetic context. Fisher showed that if the probability distribution was a Poisson distribution and if the mutant gene had no selective advantage, then the mutant gene could disappear from the population very slowly. In 1927 the British biologist Haldane pushed the study of this model further and showed that the probability of a mutant advantageous gene maintaining itself was twice its selective advantage. He also gave a more rigorous treatment of the extinction problem.


Mutant Gene Poisson Distribution Selective Advantage Extinction Probability Indian Statistical Institute 


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Further reading

  1. 1.
    Clark, R.: J.B.S., The Life and Work of J.B.S. Haldane. Hodder and Stoughton, London (1968) Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Haldane, J.B.S.: A mathematical theory of natural and artificial selection, Part V, Selection and mutation. Proc. Camb. Philos. Soc. 23, 838–844 (1927) MATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Haldane, J.B.S.: The Causes of Evolution. Longmans (1932) Reprint, Princeton University Press (1990). books.google.com
  4. 4.
    Pirie, N.W.: John Burdon Sanderson Haldane 1892-1964. Biog. Mem. Fellows R. Soc. 12, 218–249 (1966) CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IRD (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement)BondyFrance

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