Natural Selections

Natural Selections is a reading group for discussing recent and fundamental research papers pertaining to evolutionary genetics.

Time: Thursdays, 2-3pm.

Location: 158 Birge Hall

To join the mailing list go to

Contact: Reach out to Emma Howell with any questions or to propose future readings.

Structure: Group members will sign up to choose papers and present a brief summary at the meeting. A broad range of papers are potentially appropriate for this reading group, but (a) please review the paper yourself first to ensure it is a good choice, and (b) consider choosing papers with a good level of detail, i.e., not just from Nature/Science.


PDF files of these papers can be found on Box.

Fall 2023:

Natural Selections is meeting weekly in Fall 2023, Thursdays at 2 pm in 158 Birge Hall.

Oct. 2. Buffalo & Kern (2023). A quantitative genetic model of background selection in humans. BioRxiv: doi:

Sept. 25. Santiago & Caballero (2016). Joint prediction of the effective population size and the rate of fixation of deleterious mutations. Genetics, 204: 1267-1279.

Sept. 12. Hudson & Kaplan (1995). Deleterious background selection with recombination. Genetics, 141: 1605-1617.

Spring 2023:

Apr. 27. Linquist (2022) Causal-role myopia and the functional investigation of junk DNA. Biology & Philosophy 37:28.

Apr. 13. Moutinho et al. (2022) Strong evidence for the adaptive walk model of gene evolution in Drosophila and Arabidopsis. Plos Biol. 20: e3001775.

Mar. 30. Wang et. al (2022) De novo Mutations in Domestic Cat are Consistent with an Effect of Reproductive Longevity on Both the Rate and Spectrum of Mutations. Mol. Bol. Evol. 39:msac147.

Mar. 2. Murphy et al. (2022) Broad-scale variation in human genetic diversity levels is predicted by purifying selection on coding and non-coding elements. Preprint.

Feb. 16. Svensson (2022) Multivariate selection and the making and breaking of mutational pleiotropy. Evolutionary Ecology 36:807-828.

Feb. 2. Patton et al. (2022) Hybridization alters the shape of the genotypic fitness landscape, increasing access to novel fitness peaks during adaptive radiation. eLife 11:e72905.


Fall 2022:

Nov. 21. Tepolt et al. (2021) Balanced polymorphism fuels rapid selection in an invasive crab despite high gene flow and low genetic diversity. Mol. Ecol. 31:55-69.

Nov. 7. Sohail et al. (2022) Inferring epistasis from genetic time-series data. Mol. Biol. Evol. 39:msac199.

Oct. 24. Carrión et al. (2022) The terroir of the finch: How spatial and temporal variation shapes phenotypic traits in Darwin’s finches. Ecology and Evolution 12:e9399.

Oct. 10. de Manuel M, Wu FL, Przeworski M. (2022) A paternal bias in germline mutation is widespread in amniotes and can arise independently of cell division numbers. eLife 11:e80008.

Sept. 26. Böndel KB, Samuels T, Craig RJ, Ness RW, Colegrave N and Keightley PD (2022) The distribution of fitness effects of spontaneous mutations in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii inferred using frequency changes under experimental evolution. Plos Genet. 18:e1009840.


Spring 2022:

May 5. Leinonen T, McCairns RJS, O’Hara R and Merilä J. (2013) QST-FST comparisons: evolutionary and ecological insights from genomic heterogeneity. Nat. Rev. Genet. 14:179-190.

Apr. 21. Liu H and Zhang J (2021) The rate and molecular spectrum of mutation are selectively maintained in yeast. Nat. Comm. 12:4044.

Apr. 7. Orr HA (1998) Genetics of adaptation: The distribution of factors fixed during adaptive evolution. Evolution 52:935-949. See also: Connallon T and Hodgins KA (2021) Allen Orr and the genetics of adaptation. Evolution 75:2624-2640.

Mar. 24. Tennessen JA (2018) Gene buddies: linked balanced polymorphisms reinforce each other even in the absence of epistasis. PeerJ doi:10.7717/peerj.5110.

Mar 10. Naser-Khdour S, Minh BQ, and Lanfear R (2021) Assessing confidence in root placement on phylogenies: An empirical study using nonreversible models for mammals. Syst. Biol. doi:10.1093/sysbio/syab067.

Feb. 24. Cano AV, Rozhoňová H, Stoltxfus A, McCandlish DM, and Payne JL (2022) Mutation bias shapes the spectrum of adaptive substitutions. PNAS 119:e2119720119.

Feb. 10. Booker TR, Yeaman S, and Whitlock MC. (2020) Global adaptation complicates the interpretation of genome scans for local adaptation. Evol. Lett. 5:4-15.


Fall 2021:

Dec. 13. Wilson AJ, Pemberton JM, Pilkington JG, Coltman DW, Mifsud DV, Clutton-Brock TH, and Kruuk LEB (2006) Environmental coupling of selection and heritability limits evolution. Plos Biol. 4(7): e216.

Nov. 29. Kinsler G, Geiler-Samerotte K and Petrov DA (2020) Fitness variation across subtle environmental perturbations reveals local modularity and global pleiotropy of adaptation. eLife 9:e61271.

Nov. 15. Barghi N and Schlotterer C (2020) Distinct patterns of selective sweep and polygenic adaptation in evolve and resequence studies. Genome Bio. Evol. 12:890-904.

Nov. 1. Reddy G and Desai MM (2021) Global epistasis emerges from a generic model of a complex trait. eLife 10:e64740.

Oct. 18. Ågren JA (2021) Sewall Wright’s criticism of the gene’s-eye view of evolution. Evolution 75:2326-2334.

Oct. 4. Buffalo V (2021) Quantifying the relationship between genetic diversity and population size suggests natural selection cannot explain Lewontin’s Paradox. eLife;10:e67509.