Speciation Genomics Meeting

We are pleased to announce a one-day meeting to address the challenges in the field of speciation genomics. The meeting will be held on Monday 19th March 2018 at St Johns College Cambridge in the Fisher Building and is organised by Simon Martin, Mark Ravinet and Chris Jiggins.

DIRECTIONS available here. The Fisher Building is number 20 on the map at the bottom of this link

Talk schedule:

9:30    Mark Ravinet – Islands & continuums: a perspective on speciation genomics
9:45    Reto Burri – Interpreting differentiation landscapes in the light of long-term linked selection
10:15    Anja Westram – Understanding the genomic basis of speciation with gene flow using hybrid zone analysis

10:45-11:15 Coffee

11:15    Joana Meier – Reshuffling of old variation facilitates rapid adaptive radiation in Lake Victoria cichlids
11:45    Simon Martin – Polygenic selection against introgression shapes phylogenetic relationships among butterflies

12:45 Discussion
1-2pm lunch

2:00    Camille Roux – Inferring genomic heterogeneity in introgression rates along a continuum of divergence
2:30    Dorothea Lindke – What can the genomic landscape of divergence tell us about speciation?
3:00    Simon Aeschbacher – Exploring speciation history through the joint inference of selection and gene flow
3:30    Konrad Lohse – Towards model based scans for barriers to gene flow

4-4:30 Coffee

4:30-6:00 Discussion led by Chris Jiggins, Roger Butlin, Richard Durbin and Ole Seehausen

6:30pm Dinner in the college buttery

There is a registration page now open here

The registration fee includes dinner in the evening and all tea and coffee etc. Note that accommodation is not included – we recommend that you look for B&B options at the university accommodation site.

Note that this meeting coincides with our annual EGGS meeting to be held the following day on the 20th March – we encourage you to attend both meetings.

Background: Thanks to new methods and advances in sequencing technology, generating genomic data for speciation research has never been so affordable, accessible or straightforward. Huge datasets of tens of thousands (and often many more) loci make it possible to estimate demographic history, identify signatures of divergent selection and quantify gene flow with considerable accuracy. This genomic perspective has changed our understanding of how the speciation process unfolds. Hybridisation and introgression need not be detrimental but instead may promote divergence through the formation of new species, the introduction of novel genetic variation and the introgression of adaptive alleles. Peaks and troughs of relative differentiation measures (i.e. FST) that emerged from early genome scan studies have been interpreted as putative ‘speciation islands’. The rationale is simple; strong divergent selection on barrier loci reduces effective migration at these targets and the loci closely linked to them. However, researchers using population genomic patterns to identify the processes and genes involved in speciation are beginning to recognize that factors such evolutionary history, recombination and mutation rate variation and gene density confound this interpretation of the genomic landscape.

There is now an opportunity to move beyond debate about the validity of identifying ‘speciation islands’. This meeting aims to bring together those working on the empirical and theoretical challenges that face speciation genomics. The meeting will begin with a series of short seminars from researchers using novel approaches to account for factors that confound our understanding of the genomic landscape and will build towards in-depth discussion in the later part of the day.


Relevant references with strangely similar titles:

Ravinet M, Faria R, Butlin RK, et al. 2017. Interpreting the genomic landscape of speciation: a road map for finding barriers to gene flow. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 30: 1450–1477.

Martin SH & Jiggins CD. 2017. Interpreting the genomic landscape of introgression. Current Opinion in Genetics & Development 47: 69–74.


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