BACKGROUND: The population genetic pattern known as "isolation by distance" results from spatially limited gene flow and is a commonly observed phenomenon in natural populations. However, few software programs exist for estimating the degree of isolation by distance among populations, and they tend not to be user-friendly. RESULTS: We have created Isolation by Distance Web Service (IBDWS) a user-friendly web interface for determining patterns of isolation by distance. Using this site, population geneticists can perform a variety of powerful statistical tests including Mantel tests, Reduced Major Axis (RMA) regression analysis, as well as calculate FST between all pairs of populations and perform basic summary statistics (e.g., heterozygosity). All statistical results, including publication-quality scatter plots in Postscript format, are returned rapidly to the user and can be easily downloaded. CONCLUSION: IBDWS population genetics analysis software is hosted at http://phage.sdsu.edu/~jensen/ and documentation is available at http://www.bio.sdsu.edu/pub/andy/IBD.html. The source code has been made available on Source Forge at http://sourceforge.net/projects/ibdws/.
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