What we're reading: Adaptive genetics of pines, population structure of rats in the city, and the fallout

Newspaper reading habit
In the journals
Eckert AJ, JL Wegrzyn, JD Liechty, JM Lee, WP Cumbie, JM Davis, B Goldfarb, CA Loopstra, SR Palle, T Quesada, CH Langley and DB Neale. 2013. The evolutionary genetics of the genes underlying phenotypic associations for loblolly pine (Pinus taeda, Pinaceae). Genetics. doi: 10.1534/genetics.113.157198.

Phenotypes measured at the whole plant level (e.g. disease resistance) exhibit an approximately two-fold increase in the proportion of adaptive nonsynonymous substitutions over the genome-wide average. As expected for polygenic traits, these signals were only apparent when loci were considered at the level of functional sets.

Kajdacsi1 B, F Costa, C Hyseni, F Porter, J Brown, G Rodrigues, H Farias, MG Reis, JE Childs, AI Ko, and A Caccone. 2013. Urban population genetics of slum-dwelling rats (Rattus norvegicus) in Salvador, Brazil. Molecular Ecology. doi: 10.1111/mec.12455.

Surprisingly, we detected very little relatedness among animals trapped at the same site and found high levels of genetic diversity, as well as structuring across small geographical distances. Most FST comparisons among sites were statistically significant, including sites less than 400 m apart.

In the news
It’s been a really rough week for inclusion in science communication. Here’s hoping we can start to do better.
The U.S. Federal Government is finally open for business again, including the sciencerelated bits.

About Jeremy Yoder

Jeremy B. Yoder is an Assistant Professor of Biology at California State University Northridge, studying the evolution and coevolution of interacting species, especially mutualists. He is a collaborator with the Joshua Tree Genome Project and the Queer in STEM study of LGBTQ experiences in scientific careers. He has written for the website of Scientific American, the LA Review of Books, the Chronicle of Higher Education, The Awl, and Slate.
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