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  • SMBE Satellite Meeting:Genetics of Admixed Populations

In lieu of an AGAR (Applying Genetics to Anthropological Research) meeting, this year AAAG applied for and received funds to host a Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution (SMBE) Satellite Meeting. This meeting, entitled “Genetics of Admixed Populations,” will be held from May 18 to 20 in San Antonio, Texas, at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute.

The topic of admixture is of interest to both AAAG and SMBE members, as studies of admixed populations and the admixture process touch on themes central to evolutionary and molecular biology, including the dynamics of gene flow and hybridization, population expansions, and adaptation. Admixed populations have been utilized to detect disease and phenotypic associations, identify mechanisms and timescales of speciation, and infer regions under selection. These populations provide insight into unique adaptations of their parental populations, as well as about evolutionary processes in related populations. Admixture is also intimately linked with the recombination process, which shuffles segments of different ancestry, and is proven to vary in rate and location based on ancestry.

The primary aim of this satellite meeting is to emphasize the common theoretical and empirical underpinnings of the study of admixed human populations and hybridization in other animals and plants, with the goal of sharing methods and study design from a specific organism with a wider audience. We hope to bridge theoretical and data-driven approaches, starting a discussion on the suitability of methods to various systems and open questions that may be better resolved using an interdisciplinary approach.

The workshop will consist of five sessions focusing on various aspects of the admixture process and methods used to characterize it. These sessions include: Admixture as a Dynamic Process, Novel Methods to Untangle Admixture History, Empirical Studies of Population History, Admixture as a Mechanism For and Against Speciation, and Admixture and Selection-Phenotypic and Medical Implications. The meeting will conclude with a panel discussion focusing on ethical considerations associated with research into admixed populations and the admixture process. Confirmed speakers include Josh Akey, Maria Nieves-Colon, Simon Gravel, Alisa Sedghifar, Torsten Gunther, Bridgett von Holdt, Laruent Frantz, Katerina Gushcanski, Chris Gignoux, Esteban Parra, Uma Ramakrishnan, Deborah Bolnick, and Andrés Moreno-Estrada. At this meeting, particular emphasis is being placed on student and trainee participation, with approximately 40% of invited speakers being trainees. Travel awards are also available (on a competitive basis), to help defray costs for meeting participants.

Full details on confirmed speakers, registration, abstract submission, and local arrangements can be found at The deadline for registration and abstract submission is March 15. Multiple travel awards are available on a competitive basis for trainees. [End Page 134]



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