What we're reading: MHC heterozygote advantage in wolves, isolation by environment versus distance, and the case against college sports

Girl reading a book while waiting for a photographer. DSC01669
In the journals
Niskanen AK, LJ Kennedy, M Ruokonen, I Kojola, H Lohi, M Isomursu, E Jansson, T Pyhäjärvi, J Aspi, J. 2014. Balancing selection and heterozygote advantage in MHC loci of the bottlenecked Finnish wolf population. Molecular Ecology doi: 10.1111/mec.12647.

MHC allele frequency distributions in the Finnish population were more even than expected under neutrality, implying balancing selection. In addition an excess of nonsynonymous compared to synonymous polymorphisms indicated historical balancing selection. … MHC-heterozygous wolves were less often infected by Trichinella spp. and carriers of specific MHC alleles, SNP haplotypes and SNP alleles had less helminth infections.

Sexton JP, SB Hangartner, AA Hoffmann. 2014. Genetic isolation by environment or distance: Which pattern of gene flow is most common? Evolution. 68:1558-646. doi: 10.1111/evo.12258.

Of 70 studies, we found evidence of IBD in 20.0%, IBE in 37.1%, and both patterns in 37.1%. In addition, 10.0% of studies exhibited counter-gradient gene flow. In total, 74.3% showed significant IBE patterns.

In the news
About 7% funded, with the median P.I. about 10 years post-Ph.D.: The depressing, depressing summary statistics from NSF grant funding in 2013.
Liam Revell continues to wrap new PHYLIP sub-programs into his RPhylip package.
Can American universities ever quit football?

About Jeremy Yoder

Jeremy B. Yoder is an Associate 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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