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Unifying Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives on Genomic Differentiation
- Semenov, Georgy A., Safran, Rebecca J., Smith, Chris C.R., Turbek, Sheela P., Mullen, Sean P., Flaxman, Samuel M.
- Trends in ecology & evolution 2019
- data collection, empirical research, genome, genomics, meta-analysis, models
- Differentiation is often heterogeneous across the genomes of diverging populations. Despite substantial recent progress, much work remains to improve our abilities to connect genomic patterns to underlying evolutionary processes. Crosstalk between theoretical and empirical research has shaped the field of evolutionary genetics since its foundation and needs to be greatly enhanced for modern datasets. We leverage recent insights from theoretical and empirical studies to identify existing gaps and suggest pathways across them. We stress the importance of reporting empirical data in standardized ways to enable meta-analyses and to facilitate parameterization of analyses and models. Additionally, a more comprehensive view of potential mechanisms – especially considering variable recombination rates and ubiquitous background selection – and their interactions should replace common, oversimplified assumptions.