Winter School B@G 2016

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Bioinformatics for Adaptation Genomics

: Alexander & Gerbi Hotel, Weggis, Switzerland

Date: February 28th – March 5th 2016

Study systems of B@G participants  
Study systems of B@G participants

Funded by

- Center for Adaptation to a Changing Environment (ACE), ETH Zurich, Switzerland

- Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Aims and Objectives

The application of next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies to non-model organisms is now well-established and has unlocked new frontiers for research on adaptation genomics. Despite recent technological developments enabling an increasing number of projects to use genome-scale data, the analysis of such complex data sets still raises substantial analytical hurdles, particularly for researchers with primarily an ecological and evolutionary background. Bioinformatic pipelines offer an invaluable resource to process genomic data, but their underlying rationale often remains hard to understand, which poses significant challenges for their rigorous use and accurate interpretation of the results. The B@G Winter School provides an opportunity for researchers to penetrate the ‘black box’ behind the complex bioinformatics approaches available for investigating adaptation genomics; from the programs and assumptions necessary to produce a high quality SNP dataset from raw NGS data, to the in-depth interpretation of methods designed to detect signature of selection, demographic patterns and associations between genotypes and environment, and/or phenotypes. B@G teachers are established scientists with a primary role in the development of widely used bioinformatic software. Consequently, participants of the B@G Winter School will gain insight into the foundations of these algorithms and what they do to the data, and will also receive advices on best practice in experimental design and analysis.


The School is primarily aimed at evolutionary biologists who want to gain deeper knowledge on state-of-the-art methods used to detect evolutionary patterns from genome-wide nucleotide data. Applications from early career researchers (PhD and post-doctoral level), as well as faculty with a background in ecology, evolution or genetics, will be considered. The workshop is particularly aimed at candidates with experience of the Unix environment and who have tried using bioinformatic pipelines to analyse genomic data. Participants will be requested to bring their own laptop with which to connect to the server for the practical sessions.

Lessons will include lectures on the theoretical background of the programs and practical demonstrations given by the instructor, followed by hands-on exercises performed by the participants under guided supervision. Computing activity will rely on individual connections to the Genetic Diversity Centre (GDC, ETH Zurich) server, which will provide resources for demonstrations and practical training. Emphasis will be given to interpreting the output of the programs, with time for discussion to facilitate interactions between the instructor and the audience.


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