What we’re reading: Polygenic mutation-selection balance, demographics of invading mice, and the U.S. consensus on climate change

Bookshelf spectrum 2.0 - mission accomplished!

In the journals

de Vladar HP, N Barton. 2014. Stability and response of polygenic traits to stabilizing selection and mutation. Genetics. doi: 10.1534/genetics.113.159111.

The interplay between stabilizing selection and mutation leads to a sharp transition: alleles with effects smaller than a threshold value of 2√μ/S remain polymorphic, whereas those with larger effects are fixed.

Gray MM, D Wegmann, RJ Haasl, MA White, SI Gabriel, JB Searle, RJ Cuthbert, PG Ryan, and BA Payseur. 2014. Demographic history of a recent invasion of house mice on the isolated Island of Gough. Molecular Ecology. 23:1923–1939. doi: 10.1111/mec.12715.

Gough Island mice showed substantial reductions in mitochondrial and nuclear sequence variation and weak reductions in microsatellite diversity compared with Western European populations, consistent with a population bottleneck. Approximate Bayesian computation (ABC) estimated that mice recently colonized Gough Island (~100 years ago) and experienced a 98% reduction in population size followed by a rapid expansion.

In the news

“While trying to bluff your way through a qualifying exam isn’t a good strategy, it’s also not going to harm anyone else. In other situations, though, failing to recognize and/or acknowledge what you do and do not know is really important, with the potential to cause harm.”

“In the fight for attention from researchers, there are winners and there are civets.”

“More than 60 percent of Americans in every state favor government-imposed limits on greenhouse gas emissions from businesses and power plants.”

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About Jeremy Yoder

Jeremy Yoder is a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences at the University of British Columbia. He also blogs at Denim and Tweed, and tweets under the handle @jbyoder.
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