NIMBioS: Genetics Tutorial

NIMBioS Tutorial: "The Search for Selection"

February 1 is the deadline for the NIMBioS Tutorial, "The Search for Selection," to be held June 18-22, 2018 at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis. 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. The workshop 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.

Participation in NIMBioS tutorials is by application only. For more information about the tutorial and a link to the online application form, go to Individuals with a strong interest in the topic are encouraged to apply, and successful applicants will be notified within several weeks after the application deadline. NIMBioS will cover lodging (5 nights) and provide breakfast and lunch each day at NIMBioS. If needed, limited financial support for travel expenses is available.

Location: NIMBioS at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Co-Organizers* J. Bruce Walsh, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Univ. of Arizona For more information about the tutorial and a link to the online application form, go to

Objectives: 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. The goal of this tutorial is to expose investigators from all branches of biology to this rich menagerie of tests. 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 National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) ( brings together researchers from around the world to collaborate across disciplinary boundaries to investigate solutions to basic and applied problems in the life sciences. NIMBioS is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.