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NIMBioS Tutorial

The Search for Selection

Topic: The Search for Selection

Meeting dates: June 18-22, 2018

Location: NIMBioS at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Organizer: J. Bruce Walsh, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Univ. of Arizona


Biologists are obsessed (indeed, seduced) by the search for signatures of selection in organismal features of interest, ranging from specific traits to genome-wide signatures. A vast number of approaches have been suggested in this search for selection, including genomic-based signatures of recent or ongoing selection, tests based on either excessive amounts or nonrandom patterns of divergence (in both fossil sequences and functional genomics data) and the more classical Lande-Arnold fitness estimates (direct association of phenotypic values with fitness estimates) and their modern extensions (such as aster models). Given the breadth of such searches, a large amount of machinery has been developed, but is rarely presented in a unified fashion. This tutorial presents an integrated overview of all these approaches, highlighting common themes and divergent assumptions. (see Draft Agenda for a list of lectures).

The goal of this tutorial is to expose investigators from all branches of biology to this rich menagerie of tests. It is applicable for population geneticists, genome biologists, evolutionary ecologists, paleontologists, functional morphologists, and just about any biologist who ponders on how to formally demonstrate that a feature (or features) of interest might have been shaped by selection.

Intended Audience. The intended audience is advanced graduate students, postdocs, and faculty with an interest in searching for targets of selection, be they particular genomic sequences or particular traits.  Given the breadth of this topic, we expect students from functional genomics, population and evolutionary genetics, ecology, paleobiology, functional morphology, and statistics (as well as other fields).  The background required is some basic introduction to population and/or quantitative genetics.

The application process is closed.

Draft Agenda (PDF)

Descriptive Flyer (PDF)

Live-stream icon. Live Stream. The Tutorial will be streamed live. Note that NIMBioS tutorials involve open discussion and not necessarily a succession of talks. In addition, the schedule as posted may change during the Tutorial. To view the live stream, visit Join the live chat of the event via Twitter (#selectionTT), displayed to the right of the live stream. We encourage you to post questions/comments and engage in discussion with respect to our Social Media Guidelines.

A goal of NIMBioS is to enhance the cadre of researchers capable of interdisciplinary efforts across mathematics and biology. As part of this goal, NIMBioS is committed to promoting diversity in all its activities. Diversity is considered in all its aspects, social and scientific, including gender, ethnicity, scientific field, career stage, geography and type of home institution. Questions regarding diversity issues should be directed to Dr. Ernest Brothers, the NIMBioS Associate Director for Diversity Enhancement ( You can read more about our Diversity Plan on our NIMBioS Policies web page. The NIMBioS building is fully handicapped accessible.

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NSF logo. NIMBioS is sponsored by the National Science Foundation through NSF Award #DBI-1300426, with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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