Best Poster Award

Best Poster for Postdoctoral Fellows

2017 Marc Tollis Arizona State University, USA
  Elizabeth Atkinson Stony Brook University, USA
  Atahualpa Castillo Morales University of Bath, UK
2016 Paolo Franchini  University of Konstanz, Germany 
  Hilary Martin Sanger Institute, UK
2015 Matthew Hansen University of Pennsylvania, USA
2014  Pontus Skoglund Harvard Medical School, USA
  Clement Chow Cornell University, USA
2012 Henrik DeFine Licht Lund University, Sweden
Way Sung Indiana University, USA
2011 Christopher Illingworth Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, UK
Valer Gotea National Human Genome Research Institute, USA
2010 Grzegorz Kudla University of Edinburgh, UK
2009 Joshua Shapiro University of Chicago, USA
Olivier Fedrigo Duke University, USA
2008 Mathew D. Dean University of Arizona, USA
Wayne Delport University of Cape Town, South Africa
D. Allan Drummond Harvard University, USA
Siobain Duffy The Pennsylvania State University, USA
Felicity Jones Stanford University, USA
Vini Pereira University of Sussex, UK
2007 Jixin Deng University of North Carolina, USA
Yasuhiro Go Harvard University, USA
Sasha Levy New York University, USA
Masafumi Nozawa Pennsylvania State University, USA
Thane Papke Dalhousie University, Canada
Shigeru Saito Iwate University, Japan
2006 Heather Norton University of Arizona, USA
2005 Kate Johnston University College Dublin, Ireland
Scott Roy Harvard University, USA

Best Poster for Graduate Students

 2017 James Fleming
University of Bristol, UK
  Pinglin Cao
Tohoku University, Japan
  Magdalena Kubiak
Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland 
2016 Federico Gaiti
University of Queensland, Australia
  Kristina Vanessa Klaus University of Bochum, Germany
  Guangying Wang
Chinese Academy of Sciences, China 
2015  Cong Liang Yale University Systems Biology Institute, USA
  Chuan Li University of Michigan, USA
  Charles Pugh  University of Florida, USA
  Evgeni Frenkel Harvard University, USA
2014  Francesco Nicola Carelli Universite de Lausanne, Switzerland
  Steven Reilly  Yale University, USA 
2012 Yves Clement Max Planck Institute For Molecular Genetic, Germany
2011 Ryuichi Sugino Graduate University for Advanced Studies, Japan
Ding He Uppsala University, Sweden
2010 Sidi Chen University of Chicago, USA
2009 Daniel Skelly University of Washington, USA
Kerry A. Geiler Harvard University, USA
David Garfield Duke University, USA
2008 David Álvarez-Ponce Universitat de Barcelona, Spain
Susan Lott University of Chicago, USA
Julien Roux University of Lausanne, Switzerland
Sarah Schaack Indiana University, USA
Sandra Trindade Instituto Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Portugal
Nicolas Vinckenbosch University of Lausanne, Switzerland
2007 Jennifer Becq Université Paris Diderot, Paris 7, France
Trevor Bedford Harvard University, USA
William Ferguson Queens College, City University of New York, USA
Mira Han Indiana University, USA
June Keay University of Oregon, USA
David Plachetzki University of California Santa Barbara, USA
2006 D. Allan Drummond California Institute of Technology, USA
2005 Katja Nowick Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Germany

Best Poster for Undergraduate Students

2017 Isabela Jeronimo Bezerra Marcos  Universidade Federal da Paraíba, Brazil 
  Joseph Palmer
University of Sheffield, UK 
  Dan Werndly  Curtin University, Australia
2014 Gwenna Breton Uppsala University, Sweden
2012 Katharine Owers Uppsala University, Sweden
2011 Sarah Erb Indiana University, USA
Thomas Weighill Stellenbosch University, South Africa
2010 Jae Young Choi University of Toronto

Best Poster Information

In 2005, the SMBE Council decided to present at each meeting one or more Best Poster Prizes for Postdoctoral Fellows and Graduate Students. In 2010, a Best Poster Prize for undergraduate students was added.

@OfficialSMBE Feed

MBE | Most Read

Molecular Biology and Evolution


Fat-Rich Diets and Adaptation Among Indigenous Siberian Populations




Mate Selection Found to Evolve from Response to Flower Odors





















Implications for Genetic Diversity and the Use of Mitochondrial DNA as a Molecular Marker



two successive rounds in the ancestor of vertebrates, and a third one specific to teleost fishes. Biased loss of most duplicates enriched the genome for specific genes, such as slow evolving genes, but this selective retention process is not well understood. To understand what drives the long-term preservation of duplicate genes, we characterized duplicated genes in terms of their expression patterns. We used a new method of expression enrichment analysis, TopAnat, applied to in situ hybridization data from thousands of genes from zebrafish and mouse. We showed that the presence of expression in the nervous system is a good predictor of a higher rate of retention of duplicate genes after whole-genome duplication. Further analyses suggest that purifying selection against the toxic effects of misfolded or misinteracting proteins, which is particularly strong in nonrenewing neural tissues, likely constrains the evolution of coding sequences of nervous system genes, leading indirectly to the preservation of duplicate genes after whole-genome duplication. Whole-genome duplications thus greatly contributed to the expansion of the toolkit of genes available for the evolution of profound novelties of the nervous system at the base of the vertebrate radiation.



GBE | Most Read

Genome Biology & Evolution

RAD-Seq Reveals Patterns of Additive Polygenic Variation Caused by Spatially-Varying Selection in the American Eel ( Anguilla rostrata )


The American Eel (Anguilla rostrata) has an exceptional life cycle characterized by panmictic reproduction at the species scale, random dispersal, and selection in a highly heterogeneous habitat extending from subtropical to subarctic latitudes. The genetic consequences of spatially-varying selection in this species have been investigated for decades, revealing subtle clines in allele frequency at a few loci that contrast with complete panmixia on the vast majority of the genome. Because reproduction homogenizes allele frequencies every generation, sampling size, and genomic coverage are critical to reach sufficient power to detect selected loci in this context. Here, we used a total of 710 individuals from 12 sites and 12,098 high-quality single nucleotide polymorphisms to re-evaluate the extent to which local selection affects the spatial distribution of genetic diversity in this species. We used environmental association methods to identify markers under spatially-varying selection, which indicated that selection affects ∼1.5% of the genome. We then evaluated the extent to which candidate markers collectively vary with environmental factors using additive polygenic scores. We found significant correlations between polygenic scores and latitude, longitude and temperature which are consistent with polygenic selection acting against maladapted genotypes in different habitats occupied by eels throughout their range of distribution. Gene functions associated with outlier markers were significantly enriched for the insulin signaling pathway, indicating that the trade-offs inherent to occupying such a large distribution range involve the regulation of metabolism. Overall, this study highlights the potential of the additive polygenic scores approach in detecting selective effects in a complex environment.

Unravelling the Genetic Diversity among Cassava Bemisia tabaci Whiteflies Using NextRAD Sequencing


Bemisia tabaci threatens production of cassava in Africa through vectoring viruses that cause cassava mosaic disease (CMD) and cassava brown streak disease (CBSD). B. tabaci sampled from cassava in eight countries in Africa were genotyped using NextRAD sequencing, and their phylogeny and population genetics were investigated using the resultant single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers. SNP marker data and short sequences of mitochondrial DNA cytochrome oxidase I (mtCOI) obtained from the same insect were compared. Eight genetically distinct groups were identified based on mtCOI, whereas phylogenetic analysis using SNPs identified six major groups, which were further confirmed by PCA and multidimensional analyses. STRUCTURE analysis identified four ancestral B. tabaci populations that have contributed alleles to the six SNP-based groups. Significant gene flows were detected between several of the six SNP-based groups. Evidence of gene flow was strongest for SNP-based groups occurring in central Africa. Comparison of the mtCOI and SNP identities of sampled insects provided a strong indication that hybrid populations are emerging in parts of Africa recently affected by the severe CMD pandemic. This study reveals that mtCOI is not an effective marker at distinguishing cassava-colonizing B. tabaci haplogroups, and that more robust SNP-based multilocus markers should be developed. Significant gene flows between populations could lead to the emergence of haplogroups that might alter the dynamics of cassava virus spread and disease severity in Africa. Continuous monitoring of genetic compositions of whitefly populations should be an essential component in efforts to combat cassava viruses in Africa.

Legionella Becoming a Mutualist: Adaptive Processes Shaping the Genome of Symbiont in the Louse Polyplax serrata


Legionellaceae are intracellular bacteria known as important human pathogens. In the environment, they are mainly found in biofilms associated with amoebas. In contrast to the gammaproteobacterial family Enterobacteriaceae, which established a broad spectrum of symbioses with many insect taxa, the only instance of legionella-like symbiont has been reported from lice of the genus Polyplax. Here, we sequenced the complete genome of this symbiont and compared its main characteristics to other Legionella species and insect symbionts. Based on rigorous multigene phylogenetic analyses, we confirm this bacterium as a member of the genus Legionella and propose the name Candidatus Legionella polyplacis, sp.n. We show that the genome of Ca. Legionella polyplacis underwent massive degeneration, including considerable size reduction (529.746 bp, 484 protein coding genes) and a severe decrease in GC content (23%). We identify several possible constraints underlying the evolution of this bacterium. On one hand, Ca. Legionella polyplacis and the louse symbionts Riesia and Puchtella experienced convergent evolution, perhaps due to adaptation to similar hosts. On the other hand, some metabolic differences are likely to reflect different phylogenetic positions of the symbionts and hence availability of particular metabolic function in the ancestor. This is exemplified by different arrangements of thiamine metabolism in Ca. Legionella polyplacis and Riesia. Finally, horizontal gene transfer is shown to play a significant role in the adaptive and diversification process. Particularly, we show that Ca. L. polyplacis horizontally acquired a complete biotin operon (bioADCHFB) that likely assisted this bacterium when becoming an obligate mutualist.

The Diversification of Zika Virus: Are There Two Distinct Lineages?


Zika virus (ZIKV) has caused explosive epidemics in the Pacific and the Americas, posing a serious threat to public health. Conventional opinion advocates that ZIKV evolved into two distinct lineages, namely, African and Asian. Descendants of this latter lineage dispersed globally causing major epidemics. However, based on shared amino acid replacements and phylogenetic analyses, it was recently contentiously proposed that the Asian lineage was a direct descendant of the African lineage. To address this contentious issue, we reconstructed a phylogenetic tree of ZIKV using the method based on shared amino acid replacements and found that ZIKV evolved into two distinct lineages. This supports the conventional phylogenetic divergence pattern of ZIKV. Evidence of recombination and sequencing errors was identified among the large collection of ZIKV. As such problematic sequences could confound the phylogenetic analyses, they were removed. Bayesian phylogenetic analyses using the improved sequence data enabled estimates for the divergence time in the past of the African and Asian lineages of ∼180 years ago. Moreover, we found that the Asian lineage viruses did not evolve at an elevated rate. Our findings provide additional support for the conventional opinion that the Asian lineage of ZIKV diverged from the African lineage.