Category Archives: adaptation

Fishing for genetic signals of adaptation

One of the biggest promises of modern DNA sequencing methods is the ability to track the adaptation of living populations at a fine genetic scale, in essentially real time. It’s already been done in a number of experimental evolution systems: … Continue reading

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You can evolve there from here. And from here. And here …

If evolutionary history somehow reverted back to the “warm little pond” in which life began, and started over from almost-scratch, would the re-diversification of life end up, four billion years later, pretty much as we see it today? I think … Continue reading

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Selection keeps an extra-close eye on multi-functional genes

Genes that have roles in multiple traits—pleiotropic genes—have long been thought to be under stronger selection as a result of those multiple functions. The basic logic is that, when a gene produces a protein that has a lot of different … Continue reading

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Scanning the genome for local adaptation

One of the most obvious and important applications of evolutionary genetics is in figuring out whether natural biological communities are going to be able to adapt to global climate change. The projected rate of climate change over then next century … Continue reading

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Identifying and quantifying fitness effects across loci

The following guest post by Ethan Jewett is cross-posted from the is cross-posted from the CEHG blog at Stanford. Enjoy! The degree to which similarities and differences among species are the result of natural selection, rather than genetic drift, is … Continue reading

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The broom of the system: Tracking soft selective sweeps in bacteria colonizing the gut

A growing body of population genetic evidence suggests that adaptive evolutionary change often proceeds via soft selective sweeps, in which beneficial mutations on multiple genetic backgrounds—and potentially at multiple loci—all increase in frequency, but none achieve fixation. This process has … Continue reading

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What’s more isolating—environmental distance or … plain old distance?

We molecular ecologists spend a lot of time thinking about how we can differentiate the effects of natural selection acting on populations in different environments—local adaptation—from the simple isolating effects of, well, being in different places—isolation-by-distance. There’s a considerable literature … Continue reading

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The “sieve” of selection—and of scientific discovery

One of the many fundamental insights to come out of the early days of population genetics in the first decades of the 20th Century was J.B.S. Haldane’s discovery that, when it comes to natural selection, population size matters. As Haldane … Continue reading

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On “triangulation” in genome scans

Guest contributor K.E. Lotterhos is a marine biologist at Wake Forest University, who studies evolutionary responses to fishing and climate change. You can find her on Twitter under then handle @dr_k_lo. A major goal of evolutionary biology is to understand the genetic … Continue reading

Posted in adaptation, association genetics, genomics, methods, population genetics, quantitative genetics | 3 Comments

Caught in the act: how drug-resistance mutations sweep through populations of HIV

The following guest post by Meredith L. Carpenter is cross-posted from the CEHG blog at Stanford, and it describes recent work by Pleuni Pennings, who was featured in last week’s interview. Enjoy! It has been over 30 years since the … Continue reading

Posted in adaptation, medicine, population genetics | 2 Comments