Frogs and Salamanders at Mendon Ponds!

This spring the EEB department had lots of fun searching for frogs and salamanders at Mendon Ponds! Our fearless leader, Anthony, took us on multiple trips and we saw all sorts of creatures. Below are just two of the animals we saw on our trips. Seeing the salamander was particularly amazing because this species only come out once a year to mate in the ephemeral ponds, otherwise they live deep underground. We look forward to going out next year!

Journal Club 4/21: Balancing Selection

This week we’ll be reading about the maintenance of variation through balancing selection:

Bergland AO, Behrman EL, O’Brien KR, Schmidt PS, Petrov DA. 2014. Genomic evidence of rapid and stable adaptive oscillation over seasonal time scales in Drosophila. PLoS Genet. 10(11): e1004775.

Turchin MC, Chiang CWK, Palmer CD, Sankararaman S, Reich D, GIANT Consortium, Hirschhorn JN. 2012. Evidence of widespread selection on standing variation in Europe at height-associated SNPs. Nat. Genet. 44(9): 1015-1021.

Journal Club (April 7th) Epistasis and quantitative variation

Next week we will be discussing two papers on epistasis and quantitative variation in Drosophila:

Wen et al. (2012) Epistasis dominates the genetic architecture of Drosophila quantitative traits. PNAS 109 (39) 15553-15559.

Ober et al. (2012) Using Whole-Genome Sequence Data to Predict Quantitative Trait Phenotypes in Drosophila melanogaster. PLoS Genet 8(5): e1002685.

Bird Watching at Mendon Ponds

Last weekend a few graduate students went over to Mendon ponds to catch a glimpse of local birds. They encountered a large mixed flock of nuthatches, titmice, chickadees and sapsuckers as well as a downy woodpecker. Many birds even came to a hand to feed. We plan to go back next week to repeat the walk and bird feeding. We are also keeping an eye on the ephemeral ponds with the hopes of seeing the salamanders emerge to breed when conditions are right.

Journal Club 3/24: Natural Selection in the Wild

Next week we will be reading two papers on fluctuation selection and natural selection in humans:
Robinson et al. 2008. Environmental Heterogeneity Generates Fluctuating Selection on a Secondary Sexual Trait. Current Biology 18(10): 751–757
Milot et al. 2011. Evidence for evolution in response to natural selection in a contemporary human population. PNAS 108(41): 17040–17045

Journal Club 3/3: Human GWAS

Next week we will be reading two papers about GWAS in humans, including one empirical paper that’s been cited over 3,000 times, and a thoughtful short perspective.

Burton, PR, Clayton, DG, Cardon, LR, Craddock, N, Deloukas, P, Duncanson, et al. (2007). Genome-wide association study of 14,000 cases of seven common diseases and 3,000 shared controls. Nature. 447(7145): 661-678.

Goldstein, DB. (2009). Common genetic variation and human traits. New England Journal of Medicine. 360(17): 1696.

Journal Club 2/24: QTL mapping of morphological variation in Drosophila

Zeng, Z-B., Liu, J., Stam, LF., Kao, C-H., Mercer, JM., and Laurie, CC. (2000). Genetic architecture of a morphological shape difference between two Drosophila species. Genetics 154, 299-310.

Mezey, JG., Houle, D., and Nuzhdin, SV. (2005). Naturally segregating quantitative trait loci affecting wing shape of Drosophila melanogaster. Genetics 169, 2101-2113.