Thursday, August 19, 2010

Physics of Evolution

Dmitri is going to present two lectures at the "Physics of Evolution" workshop at UC San Diego at the end of this month. The workshop is dedicated to the applications of statistical physics to quantification of evolutionary process. The organizers say that:"This summer school will introduce graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the fields of biological physics, statistical mechanics and non-equilibrium processes to the opportunities and challenges present in the area of Darwinian evolutionary dynamics. These have been enabled by sequencing technology advances, a new generation of quantitative laboratory-scale experiments, and new concepts in theoretical approaches to complex systems. Topics to be covered include: modern genomics tools, microorganism experiments, mutation-selection theory, the role of recombination and horizontal gene transfer, and applications to both the immune system and to infectious disease". Dmitri will talk about two papers: (1) one about our recent finding that Drosophila appears to have such large effective population sizes that adaptation is not limited by mutation and (ii) one on the recent work of a postdoc in the lab, Ruth Hershberg,that mutation appears to be always biased towrads A's and T's across all bacteria potentially implying that GC-rich bacterial genomes are under selection to be GC rich. The paper about Ruth's work is about to come out in PloS Genetics.

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