Joseph Felsenstein is Professor in the Departments of Genome Sciences and Biology and Adjunct Professor in the Departments of Computer Science and Statistics at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is best known for his work on phylogenetic inference, and is the author of Inferring Phylogenies, and principal author and distributor of the package of phylogenetic inference programs called PHYLIP, and is currently serving as the President of the Society for Molecular Biology & Evolution.

You can reach Joe at president.smbe@gmail.com

James McInerney is the principle investigator of the Bioinformatics and Molecular Evolution Laboratories at NUI Maynooth. He was one of the founding directors of the Irish Centre for High End Computing, an Associate Editor of Molecular Biology and Evolution, Biology Direct, and Journal of Experimental Zoology, and is currently serving as the Secretary for the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.

You can reach James at secretary.smbe@gmail.com

Juliette de Meaux is interested in the molecular basis of Darwinian adaptation in natural plant systems. Her works combines the approaches of population, quantitative and molecular genetics to dissect the underpinning of adaptive changes. She completed her PhD at AgroParisTech, under the supervision of Prof. Claire Neema and studied the molecular basis of host-pathogen coevolution in natural populations of common bean. She then spent her Postdoc time in the lab of Prof. Tom Mitchell-Olds at the Max Planck Institute of Chemical Ecology in Jena and worked on the evolution of cis-regulatory DNA. Since 2005, she runs her own lab, first at the Max Planck Institute of Plant Breeding in Cologne and then at the University of Münster. In January 2015, she relocated her lab at the University of Cologne. She is currently serving as the Treasurer for the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.

You can reach Juliette at treasurer.smbe@gmail.com

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About

The Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution is an international organization whose goals are to provide facilities for association and communication among molecular evolutionists and to further the goals of molecular evolution, as well as its practitioners and teachers. In order to accomplish these goals, the Society publishes two peer-reviewed journals, Molecular Biology and Evolution and Genome Biology and Evolution. The Society sponsors an annual meeting, as well as smaller satellite meetings or workshop on important, focused, and timely topics. It also confers honors and awards to students and researchers.

SMBE 2017

On behalf of the organising committee it is our pleasure to invite you to attend SMBE 2017 - the annual meeting of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. SMBE 2017 will be held from the 2nd-6th of July at the JW Marriott in Austin, TX, USA. The meeting - including plenary talks, symposia presentations, the Walter Fitch symposium, and poster sessions - will showcase the latest research in genomics, population genetics, and molecular biology and evolution. Social activities will include an opening reception, mixers with each poster session, and a conference dinner. We’re looking forward to seeing you in Austin this summer!

More information can be found HERE

Featured News and Updates

Call for Proposals for Satellite Meetings 2013

Call for 2013 SMBE Satellite Meetings (this message to also be distributed via email to the membership)

Purpose

The Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution (SMBE) exists to “…provide facilities for association and conference among molecular evolutionists and to further the goals of molecular evolutionary biology and its practitioners, including the publication of two journals, Molecular Biology and Evolution, and Genome Biology and Evolution” (Society By-Laws, amended November 7, 2008). In addition to supporting its annual meeting, SMBE Council will provide funds in aid of one or more workshops or small meetings per calendar year, that number depending on total cost.  SMBE's first satellite meeting sponsored under this competition was “Phylomedicine” held March 2012 at Arizona State University (http://www.smbe.org/phylomed).  In spring 2013, SMBE supported three satellite symposia: “Eukaryotic Metagenomics” (http://www.smbe.org/2013/smbe-satellite-meeting-on-eukaryotic-omics/), “Mechanisms of Protein Evolution II” (http://www.smbe.org/2013/smbe-satellite-meeting-mechanisms-of-protein-evolution-ii/), “The Origin of Life”  (http://www.pctp.princeton.edu/pcts/Originoflife2013/Originoflife2013.html).

SMBE is now calling for proposals for small satellite meetings and/or workshops to be held in Fall 2013/Spring 2014.  Funds will be awarded on a competitive basis to members of the molecular evolution research community to run a small meeting or workshop on an important, focused and timely topic of their choice.

Guidelines

  • Funds will be awarded on a competitive basis to members of the molecular evolution research community to run a small meeting or workshop on an important, focused and timely topic. The suggested size is ~50 participants. At least one of the meeting organizers must be a member of SMBE.
  • SMBE will provide financial support for up to 80% of the cost of each meeting, up to maximum of $40,000 USD per meeting. A detailed projected budget including expected number of participants, travel/food/lodging costs, and registration fees must be submitted with the application.
  • Meetings will be selected based on the scientific importance, timeliness and anticipated impact on the fields of molecular biology, genome biology, and evolution.
  • Proposals will be received and reviewed by the SMBE Satellite Workshop Committee, which will consist of four individuals: one SMBE Council Member (who will also serve as Chair) and three other members of SMBE. The committee will make a recommendation to SMBE Council, whose decision is final. The committee or SMBE Council may decide not to support any meeting in any particular year.
  • Events will be named “SMBE Satellite Meeting on XYZ” or "SMBE Satellite Workshop on XYZ".
  • The meeting/workshop must be a standalone event. It should not form a symposium or other part of a larger meeting. It should not immediately follow or precede any other meeting.
  • Organizers will be required to submit a copy of the final workshop/symposium program and a short (~2 page) summary of the workshop/symposium highlights to SMBE Council within 3 months of the event.  The summary should be sent to Harmit Malik (hsmalik@fhcrc.org).

Instructions for proposals to organize an SMBE Satellite Meeting

Satellite meeting / workshop proposals shall be sent by email to the Chair of the SMBE Satellite Workshop Committee (Soojin Yi <soojin.yi@biology.gatech.edu>). Please refer to the workshop guidelines for more information. 

The deadline for submission of proposals is 25 May, 2013.

1. Provide the name(s) and full contact information for all organizer(s) and institution(s) involved. Universities / organizations providing additional financial support, if involved, should also be listed.

2. Workshop summary. Describe the scientific rationale for your proposed workshop. In doing so, be sure to clearly state (1) the importance and timeliness of the topic, (2) the anticipated short-term and long-term impacts of your satellite meeting on the fields of molecular biology, genome biology, and evolution, (3) the extent and nature of student / postdoctoral fellow involvement, (4) the proposed structure of your workshop (e.g., lectures only, lectures + hands-on training sessions, poster sessions, etc.), (5) an indicative list of proposed invited speakers, and (6) why a workshop/small meeting format is preferable to a symposium at the SMBE annual meeting. (2 pages max).

3. Financial summary. Please summarize your financial request, including estimated total budget, registration costs (if any), travel support for speakers / trainees, and details of non-SMBE funds to be used.


  • Wednesday, April 17, 2013
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Genome Biology & Evolution

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

2017-11-10

Abstract
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

2017-10-31

Abstract
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

2017-10-23

Abstract
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?

2017-10-23

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.