Category Archives: mutation

dN(eutralist) < dS(electionist) Part 5

The neutral theory predicts that species with small census (and effective) population sizes are subject to greater drift (or allele frequency fluctuations), and vice versa. In other words, species with larger population sizes are expected to maintain more neutral diversity … Continue reading

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d(N)eutralist < d(S)electionist Part 4

Continuing our discussion of the neutralist-selectionist debate, recent findings by Schrider et al. (2015) bring us to the topic of selective sweeps, and their genomic signatures in a population. As we have discussed in previous posts, numerous studies (since the … Continue reading

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To sequence a genome or not to sequence a genome, that is the question

In a paper out last month in the Journal of Phycology, Bhattacharya et al. (2015) provide a perspective on the need for more algal genomes. [A] relevant question on the minds of many phycologists might be: do we really need more algal … Continue reading

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dN(eutralist) > dS(electionist)? Part 2

Last week’s post dealt with the debate over differences in the efficacy of purifying selection across human genomes. This week, we’ll look at the differences in de novo mutation rates across populations. The human de novo mutation rate has gone … Continue reading

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dN(eutralist) > dS(electionist)? Part 1

In a new series of posts, I will now proffer neutralist and selectionist reviews of recent publications. I point readers to an excellent review of the debate by Masatoshi Nei (2005). Besides being a fun exercise in PoV’s, I hope … Continue reading

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Twice Mixed? Testing hypotheses of Neanderthal Introgression

Human migration in, and out of Africa was wrought with complex patterns of admixture (see my previous post summarizing the story so far). Of note were some recent findings on the disparity in amounts of Neanderthal introgression/ancestry between East Asians … Continue reading

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Genome-wide effects of artificial selection

Humans have been artificially selecting for favorable traits in crops, pets, and livestock over millennia. Years of theoretical predictions and experimental evolution studies have shown the detrimental effects of increased homozygosity, and the population-wide advantages of artificially maintaining heterozygosity. Two … Continue reading

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Estimating the ticks and tocks of molecular clocks

Like many undergraduate students, I learned about the linear, universal molecular clock: the homogeneous rate of nucleotide change over time. When I sat down to actually do analyses of molecular data, I was confounded by the array of options to treat DNA … Continue reading

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Sex chromosome evolution … in haploids, that is

In diploid organisms, the rates of mutation and recombination played a pivotal role in the evolution of sex-determining regions and, thus, sex chromosomes.  We know quite a bit theoretically and empirically in XY systems in mammals and ZW systems in … Continue reading

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The Evolution of Recombination

In a recent publication, Lesecque et al (2014). provide key evidence that fills in some of the blanks to an age old question – how do recombination hotspots evolve? Their analyses of major PRDM9 (a polymorphic zinc finger protein with … Continue reading

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