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NIMBioS Tutorial

Evolutionary Quantitative Genetics 2015

Tutorial group photo.

Topic: Evolutionary quantitative genetics 2015

Meeting dates: August 10–15, 2015

Location: NIMBioS at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Stevan J. Arnold, Integrative Biology, Oregon State Univ.
Joe Felsenstein, Genome Sciences, Univ. of Washington, Seattle

Objectives: This tutorial reviewed the basics of theory in the field of evolutionary quantitative genetics and its connections to evolution observed at various time scales. Quantitative genetics deals with the inheritance of measurements of traits that are affected by many genes. Quantitative genetic theory for natural populations was developed considerably in the period from 1970 to 1990 and up to the present, and it has been applied to a wide range of phenomena including the evolution of differences between the sexes, sexual preferences, life history traits, plasticity of traits, as well as the evolution of body size and other morphological measurements. Textbooks have not kept pace with these developments, and currently few universities offer courses in this subject aimed at evolutionary biologists. There is a need for evolutionary biologists to understand this field because of the ability to collect large amounts of data by computer, the development of statistical methods for changes of traits on evolutionary trees and for changes in a single species through time, and the realization that quantitative characters will not soon be fully explained by genomics. This tutorial aimed to fill this need by reviewing basic aspects of theory and illustrating how that theory can be tested with data, both from single species and with multiple-species phylogenies. Participants learned to use R, an open-source statistical programming language, to build and test evolutionary models. Participants for this tutorial were graduate students, postdocs, and junior faculty members in evolutionary biology.

Co-sponsor: American Society of Naturalists

Patrick Carter, Evolutionary Physiology, Washington State Univ., Pullman
Tyler Hether, Biological Sciences, Univ. of Idaho, Moscow
Adam Jones, Biology, Texas A&M Univ.
Emilia Martins, Biology, Indiana Univ., Bloomington
Brian O'Meara, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Univ. of Tennessee
Liam Revell, Biology, Univ. of Massachusetts, Boston
Michael Whitlock, Zoology, Univ. of British Columbia

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The content of this tutorial will be similar to the tutorial held at NIMBioS in 2014. For more information about that tutorial, For information about the Evolutionary Quantitative Genetics 2014 tutorial held at NIMBioS, click here.

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Evolutionary Quantitative Genetics WordPress Site

Live-stream icon. Live Stream. The tutorial was live streamed.
Playlist of online videos.

photo. Summary Report. TBA

Evaluation report (PDF)

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A goal of NIMBioS is to enhance the cadre of researchers capable of interdisciplinary efforts across mathematics and biology. As part of this goal, NIMBioS is committed to promoting diversity in all its activities. Diversity is considered in all its aspects, social and scientific, including gender, ethnicity, scientific field, career stage, geography and type of home institution. Questions regarding diversity issues should be directed to You can read more about our Diversity Plan on our NIMBioS Policies web page. The NIMBioS building is fully handicapped accessible.

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From 2008 until early 2021, NIMBioS was supported by the National Science Foundation through NSF Award #DBI-1300426, with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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