Thinking too positive? Revisiting current methods of population genetic selection inference

Trends Genet. 2014 Dec;30(12):540-6. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2014.09.010. Epub 2014 Nov 19.


In the age of next-generation sequencing, the availability of increasing amounts and improved quality of data at decreasing cost ought to allow for a better understanding of how natural selection is shaping the genome than ever before. However, alternative forces, such as demography and background selection (BGS), obscure the footprints of positive selection that we would like to identify. In this review, we illustrate recent developments in this area, and outline a roadmap for improved selection inference. We argue (i) that the development and obligatory use of advanced simulation tools is necessary for improved identification of selected loci, (ii) that genomic information from multiple time points will enhance the power of inference, and (iii) that results from experimental evolution should be utilized to better inform population genomic studies.

Keywords: background selection; computational biology; evolution; natural selection; population genetic inference.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / genetics
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genetics, Population / methods*
  • Genetics, Population / statistics & numerical data
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing / methods*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Models, Genetic
  • Mutation
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Selection, Genetic*