What we're reading: Genetic diversity and life history, evolutionary rescue, and scientists on social media

Sam Reading in Badlands
In the journals
Romiguier, J., P. Gayral, M. Ballenghien, A. Bernard, V. Cahais, A. Chenuil, Y. Chiari, R. Dernat, L. Duret, N. Faivre, E. Loire, J. M. Lourenco, B. Nabholz, C. Roux, G. Tsagkogeorga, A. A.-T. Weber, L. A. Weinert, K. Belkhir, N. Bierne, S. Glémin, and N. Galtier. 2014. Comparative population genomics in animals uncovers the determinants of genetic diversity. Nature. doi: 10.1038/nature13685.

The distribution of genetic diversity between species revealed no detectable influence of geographic range or invasive status but was accurately predicted by key species traits related to parental investment: long-lived or low-fecundity species with brooding ability were genetically less diverse than short-lived or highly fecund ones.

Orr, H. A., and R. L. Unckless. 2014. The population genetics of evolutionary rescue. PLoS Genetics. 10:e1004551. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1004551.

Our analysis requires taking into account a subtle population-genetic effect (familiar from the theory of genetic hitchhiking) that involves “oversampling” of those lucky alleles that ultimately sweep to high frequency.

In the news
“If you want to know how often fitness trade-offs evolve under divergent selection (invariably), whether adaptation to a fitness peak typically involves fixation of few or many mutations (few), what the typical rate of substitution is during an adaptive walk, and much more, this book has the numbers.”
“The most-selected activity on both ResearchGate and Academia.edu was simply maintaining a profile in case someone wanted to get in touch … By comparison, Twitter, although used regularly by only 13% of scientists in Nature’s survey, is much more interactive: half of the Twitterati said that they use it to follow discussions on research-related issues, and 40% said that it is a medium for ‘commenting on research that is relevant to my field’ (compared with 15% on ResearchGate).”
“Kim was convinced that she had found the cause of her two diseases, but the only way to know for sure was to get the DNA of her LMNA gene sequenced to see if she had a mutation.”
“The first post doctoral position I was offered was for a fantastic and well-paying position directly related to my Ph.D. work, but I turned it down in no small part because when I did a Google search of the city alongside ‘LGBT’ what came up was a list of murders and shootings.”

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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