Approximate Bayesian computation (ABC) is a highly flexible technique that allows the estimation of parameters under demographic models that are too complex to be handled by full-likelihood methods. We assess the utility of this method to estimate the parameters of range expansion in a two-dimensional stepping-stone model, using samples from either a single deme or multiple demes. A minor modification to the ABC procedure is introduced, which leads to an improvement in the accuracy of estimation. The method is then used to estimate the expansion time and migration rates for five natural common vole populations in Switzerland typed for a sex-linked marker and a nuclear marker. Estimates based on both markers suggest that expansion occurred <10,000 years ago, after the most recent glaciation, and that migration rates are strongly male biased.
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