Published on Tue Jul 27 2021

The effective family size of immigrant founders predicts their long-term demographic outcome: from Quebec settlers to their 20th-century descendants

Harding, T., Milot, E., Vezina, H., Labuda, D.

Genealogy and genetics are intimately related. We used descending genealogies of this population to pursue the fate of its founder lineages. We followed their transmission in real-time, from the 17th century down to its 20th-century population.

4
10
33
Abstract

Human evolution involves population splits, size fluctuations, founder effects, and admixture. Population history reconstruction based on genetic diversity data routinely relies on simple demographic models while projecting the past. Yet, no specific demographic assumptions are needed to understand the genetic structure of the founder population of Quebec. Because genealogy and genetics are intimately related, we used descending genealogies of this population to pursue the fate of its founder lineages. Maternal and paternal lines reflect the transmission of mtDNA and the Y-chromosome, respectively. We followed their transmission in real-time, from the 17th century down to its 20th-century population. We counted the number of married children of immigrants (i.e., their effective family size, EFS), estimated the proportion of successful immigrants in terms of their survival ratio, and assessed net growth rates and extinction. Likewise, we evaluated the same parameters for their Quebec-born descendants. The survival ratio of the first immigrants was the highest and declined over time in association with the decreasing immigrants EFS. Parents with high EFS left plentiful married progeny, putting EFS as the most important variable determining the parental demographic success throughout time for generations ahead. The 17th and 18th-century immigrants bear the most remarkable demographic and genetic impact on the 20th-century population of Quebec. Lessons learned from Quebec genealogies can teach us about the consequences of founder effects and migrations through real peoples history. The effective family size of immigrant founders predicts their long-term demographic outcome.