Thursday, 18 June 2009
I spent the beginning of the month at the SMBE (Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution) conference in Iowa City. It was a good chance to catch up with people and find out what research is going on in the field, as well as to speak with collaborators about on-going projects. One of those is Peter Andolfatto, who works on genome evolution in Drosophila species. Molly and I are collaborating with Peter on a project to detect natural selection within and between Drosophila species. The main idea is to improve inference by taking into account variation in selection pressure throughout the gene. Our method draws on the advantages of a number of current approaches such as Rasmus Nielsen and Ziheng Yang's codeml package (part of PAML), Carlos Bustamante's MKPRF (McDonald-Kreitman Poisson Random Field) model and Gil McVean and my program omegaMap in that it exploits patterns of polymorphism within and between species, while allowing for conservation and adaptation within the same gene. You can view the slides of my SMBE talk here, which was titled "Adaptive events in hominid (and Drosophila) evolution".