Studying the Genetic Basis of Adaptation

  • Research News

New IBIO faculty member, Gideon Bradburd, has teamed up with David Lowry in Plant Biology (PLB) and other colleagues from across the country to develop a major analysis and synthesis of the state of the art in efforts to use modern genomic methods to understand the evolution of adaptations. The paper is in the October issue of the American Naturalist*.

According to Gideon, "One of the fundamental observations in the field of evolutionary biology is that populations tend to do better in their own environments than in other environments. Although examples of this local adaptation have been documented across a wide variety of natural systems, understanding how this "home-field advantage" is controlled at a genetic level has been an elusive goal, and has become a major focus of evolutionary biology. In this paper, our working group (organized through the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis) reviews the promises and challenges of the statistical methods designed to identify the alleles involved in local adaptation. This is an active area of research, so our goal was to help chart a course for the field into an exciting future." 

* Sean Hoban, Joanna L. Kelley, Katie E.Lotterhos, Michael F. Antolin, GideonBradburd, David B. Lowry, Mary L. Poss, Laura K. Reed, Andrew Storfer, and Michael C.Whitlock, "Finding the Genomic Basis of Local Adaptation: Pitfalls, Practical Solutions, and Future Directions," The American Naturalist 188, no. 4 (October 2016): 379-397.