Evolutionary genetics: the detection of natural selection using molecular data

Published on October 1, 2007 Reviewed on October 31, 2015   65 min

Other Talks in the Series: Evolution and Medicine

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Welcome to my talk on Detecting Natural Selection Using Molecular Data. Charles Darwin defined natural selection as the preservation of
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favorable variations and the rejection of injurious variations. The beauty of natural selection is in its simplicity and its explanatory power. And of course, Mr. Darwin understood this as well as anybody. But look at the second sentence here. Variations, neither useful nor injurious, would not be affected by natural selection and will be left a fluctuating element. It is in this sentence, as we will see later, that we have the basis for detecting signatures of natural selection in our genes.
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Natural selection is a slow process and we're used to thinking of its consequences, that is adaptions, as occurring over vast periods of time.
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But new techniques for detecting natural selection based upon the analysis of genetic variation allow us to see if genes are evolving by natural selection within populations, estimate when that natural selection started, see if separate populations are evolving differently in response to different environments, and identify which genes have been evolving the most since two species split. In the context of evolutionary medicine,
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Evolutionary genetics: the detection of natural selection using molecular data

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