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Genetic architecture and the evolution of local adaptation and differentiation with gene flow.(3 pm, JUN 20, Thursday)
Published:2013-06-19 Hits:837

Title: Genetic architecture and the evolution of local adaptation and differentiation with gene flow.


Speaker: Reinhard Bürger

                  Department of Mathematics, University of Vienna, Austria


Time: 3 pm, JUN 20 (Thursday), 2013


Place: Room 2201, East Guanghua Tower



In subdivided populations, adaptation to a local environment may be hampered by maladaptive gene flow from other subpopulations. We study a continent-island model in which an ancestral population sends migrants to a colony exposed to a different environment. At an isolated locus, i.e., unlinked to other loci under selection, a locally beneficial mutation can be established and maintained only if its selective advantage exceeds the immigration rate of alternative allelic types. We show that, if a beneficial mutation arises in linkage to a locus at which a locally adapted allele is already segregating in migration-selection balance, the new mutant can invade and be maintained under much higher immigration rates than predicted by one-locus theory. We deduce the maximum amount of gene flow that admits the preservation of the locally adapted haplotype on the strength of recombination and selection. We calculate the selective advantage of recombination-reducing mechanisms, such as chromosome inversions, which often seem to play a role in speciation. Our analysis provides conditions for the evolution of clusters of locally adaptive genes, or islands of divergence, as found by some empirical studies. For an extended model that allows for epistasis, we discuss how much gene flow is needed to inhibit speciation by the accumulation of Dobzhansky–Muller incompatibilities.



I obtained my PhD in Mathematics from the University of Vienna in 1979. My dissertation was in the field of harmonic analysis. In the early 1980s, I started working in mathematical population genetics, which has been my main field of research since then. After some postdocs, I got a position as a University assistant at the University of Vienna in 1982. I was tenured in 1988, promoted to Associate Professor in 1996, and awarded the title University Professor in 2008. In 1991, I was Visiting Researcher at the Division of Animal Production of the CSIRO in Prospect, Australia, and in 1992/93, I was Visiting Full Professor at the University of Oregon, Eugene, OR. Between 2004 and 2009, I spent about 11 months as Visiting Scholar at Harvard University.

My research area is mathematical population genetics and evolutionary theory. Much of my research has been devoted to the evolution of multilocus systems and quantitative traits under the combined action of selection, recombination, and mutation. In recent years, my work focused on the role of spatially heterogeneous selection in maintaining genetic variation in geographically structured populations, and on the evolution of local adaptation and differentiation.


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