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What are the genomic signatures of adaptations in DNA? How often does natural selection dictate changes to DNA? How does the ebb and flow in the abundance of individuals over time get marked onto chromosomes to record genetic history? Molecular population genetics seeks to answer such questions by explaining genetic variation and molecular evolution from micro-evolutionary principles. It provides a way to learn about how evolution works and how it shapes species by incorporating molecular details of DNA as the heritable material. It enables us to understand the logic of how mutations originate, change in abundance in populations, and become fixed as DNA sequence divergence between species. With the revolutionary advances in genomic data acquisition, understanding molecular population genetics is now a fundamental requirement for today's life scientists. These concepts apply in analysis of personal genomics, genome-wide association studies, landscape and conservation genetics, forensics, molecular anthropology, and selection scans. A Primer of Molecular Population Genetics introduces, in an accessible way, the bare essentials of the theory and practice of molecular population genetics.
1: Introduction: what is molecular population genetics?
2: The origins of molecular diversity
3: Quantifying genetic variation at the molecular level
4: Neutral theories of molecular evolution
5: Genealogy in evolution
6: Recombination and linkage disequilibrium in evolutionary signatures
7: Natural selection and demography as causes of molecular non-randomness
8: Molecular deviants: sequence signatures of selection and demography
9: Case studies in molecular population genetics: genotype to phenotype to selection
Asher D. Cutter is a Professor in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto. He earned a B.S. in Biology and Environmental Studies at Tufts University and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for post-graduate study in Australia at James Cook University. After completing a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona, he studied as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Edinburgh as an NSF International Scholar. While at the University of Toronto, he has served as Canada Research Chair in Evolutionary Genomics and as Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies.