Thursday, January 31, 2013

An unsuccessful Symposium proposal

I think it is much easier to share successes than failures. But, I also think there is as much, if not more, we can learn from our failures than our successes. In this particular case, I don't think there was much more we could have done. A colleague and I wrote a proposal for a Symposium, and ours was not chosen, likely because it didn't pique the interest of enough of the organizing committtee membrs. But, I still think it is an exciting proposal, and so wanted to share it here. It was limited to be quite short, so perhaps what I can learn from this experience is that I need to develop the skills to better convey excitement for a topic in a very limited space.

Moving background selection to the foreground

According to the neutral theory of evolution most mutations are expected to be neutral, nearly neutral, or deleterious. It is the class of nearly neutral and deleterious mutations that may, in fact, predominantly drive the evolution and structure of the genome. The removal of deleterious mutations by purifying selection can affect genetic variation at linked neutral sites by a process called background selection. There is renewed interested in understanding background selection across diverse organisms, and comparing diversity between the sex chromosomes and the autosomes to distinguish its effects from other evolutionary forces, such as demography and positive selection. Recent advances include new theoretical approaches to more comprehensively model the complexity of background selection in a coalescent framework. These models are especially powerful when combined with recent developments resulting in dramatically increased sample sizes, improved identification of rare variants, and the ability to estimate fine-scale recombination rates using next-generation sequencing technology.

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