I am fresh from a trip to Vienna to hang out with Barton et al. The trip was quite exciting, as I got to hear the new excitement coming out of the Barton lab.
The lab is located in the Institute of Science and Technology, Austria, and is about a 1/2 bus ride from the last bus stop in Vienna. Although Nick et al have a lot going on (I chatted with Daniel Weissman and Jitka Polechová about their research), two projects stood out as being of special interest to me. The first is work on a hybrid zone in snapdragons (Antirrhinum spp.). In the next few years, Nick, his collaborators, and an awesome team of student (Tom Ellis) and postdocs (David Field and Melinda Pickup) will identify the strength of selection against intermediate floral morphs in the hybrid zone using dense population genomic data. I can’t wait to hear an update!
Additionally, Michael and I chatted a bit with Nick and his postdoc Jerome about the accumulation of DMIs and the scale of differentiation in space. Jerome has developed a series of simulations that could be pretty useful for thinking about classic problems in speciation genetics in a spatially explicit framework. I am excited about this because it both moves us beyond simple n deme (where n usually equals 2) models, and because spatial population genomic datasets in potentially hybridizing species will soon become readily available, and good expectations to lead the way through these data will be invaluable.
That is nowhere near all of the news from Vienna (my trip also included serious cultural experiences (i.e. wine, architecture and music), which Michael insisted I needed to pick up while in Vienna. In fact, I even found a wine to like – the St Laurent. Michael and I shared a few glasses of this a Vis-a-Vis, a small wine bar tucked away in the city.
Now Im off to NECENT to chat about genomic imprinting… more soon