What we’re reading: Selection for heterozygosity in threatened seals, and testing Fst outlier tests

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In the journals

Forcada J and Hoffman JI. 2014. Climate change selects for heterozygosity in a declining fur seal population. Nature. 511:462–465. doi: 10.1038/nature13542.

Variation in SAM [Southern Annular Mode of the Antarctic atmosphere] significantly affects most of the life cycle … During extreme positive SAM anomalies, mean juvenile survival, adult survival and fecundity declined by up to 37.1% (s.e.m. = 7.1%), 41.5% (5.1%) and 32.1% (8.5%) respectively. Survival of pre-breeders was inversely related to HL (Extended Data Fig. 2a), particularly in first-year females.

Lotterhos KE and MC Whitlock. 2014. Evaluation of demographic history and neutral parameterization on the performance of FST outlier tests. Molecular Ecology, 23:2178–2192. doi: 10.1111/mec.12725.

On their best performance, however, the widely used methods had high false-positive rates for IBD and range expansion and were outperformed by methods that accounted for evolutionary nonindependence.

In the news

“It seems quite likely that observed height differences among populations will be partially genetic in nature, and due in part to differential selection, consist with our and Turchin et al’s results. However, to establish this as a scientific finding, rather than a plausible hunch requires much more work.”

“We reject Wade’s implication that our findings substantiate his guesswork. They do not.”

Want to code your own R package? Check out this online book-in-progress.

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About Jeremy Yoder

Jeremy Yoder is an Assistant Professor of Biology at California State University, Northridge. He also blogs at Denim and Tweed, and tweets under the handle @jbyoder.
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