The ESEB meeting left me quite satisfied, although the proportion of talks I really liked was probably ~ 1 out of 5. I think that the submission of abstract 6 months in advance is partially responsible of some sub-par talks. Some of the talks were about papers that I already read and were published in 2012 or in early 2013 and I do not see the point of listening to a talk about a paper I already read. Some of the talks were about ideas only partially developed, and you could tell it.
The plenary by Trudy Mackay about the genotype-phenotype mapping in Drosophila made me think pretty hard. If in a model (the model) species like Drosophila (with more ~ 200 inbred lines) predictions at the individual level for polygenic traits using SNPs are far from being acceptable (she vigorously supports the idea that epistatic interactions are responsible from the lack of predictive ability from simple additivity), do we have any chance of making right now or in the foreseeable future half-decent predictions for polygenic traits in non-model species? We are very far from it, although Craig Primmer was able to predict correctly 8 out of 10 times the age at sexual maturity in Atlantic salmon using SNPs outliers from a GWAS association study.
Here below, the talks I listened to at the European Society of Evolutionary Biology meeting in Lisbon, 19-24 August 2013. 32 talks total.
Tuesday 20th Aug 2013
De-Meaux: The molecular underpinnings of adaptation in Arabidopsis Thaliana
Ellers: A new perspective in phenotypic plasticity
Foray: Can we predict the effect of thermal fluctuations on specialist and generalist reaction norms?
Morrissey: Selection and evolution of causally-covaryint traits
Duthie: A fluctuating environment drives coexistence in five non-pollinating fig wasps
Reed: Quantifying the demographic cost of selection in a changing environment
Wednesday 21st Aug 2013
Hoglund: Why genetics, genomics, bioniformatics and evolutionary theory may matter for conservation
Geroldinger: The influence of the genetic architecture of a trait on local adaptation in a subdivided population
Chevin: Evolution of discrete phenotypes from continuous reaction norms
Bernatchez: Applied evolutionary genomics in fish conservation: some success stories and challenges for the future
Primmer: A GWAS association study of age at maturity in Atlantic Salmon: implications for conservation and management
De-Cara: Maintaining fitness and diversity in conservation programmes
Otto: Genomic scope of adaptive mutations to different environments
Thursday 22nd Aug 2013
Greaves: Cancer through the eye of evolutionary medicine
Danchin: Genetic and nongenetic inheritance
Friday 23rd August 2013
Mackay: Charting the genotype-phenotype map: lessons from Drosophila
Stearns: Comparing phenotypic, quantitative genetic, and genomic approaches to measuring tradeoffs in a contemporary human population
Hoyle: The fitness implications of adaptation via phenotypic plasticity and maternal effects
Tarka: Evolutionary potential of arrival date on breeding grounds: selection, heritability and microevolution
Whitlock: Equilibrium and non-equilibrium demographic history and the distribution of Fst
Richards: Epigenetic response to novel and changing environments
Fox: Demographic heterogeneity, selection, and population response
Nitsch: Sibship effects on dispersal behaviour
Kvalnes: Estimating fluctuating selection in age-structured populations
Wensink: Indicators of selection pressure and changes in vital rates at multiple ages
Saturday 24th Aug 2013
Lummaa: Sex differences in natural selection on reproductive scheduling and longevity in humans
Coulson: Using evolutionary demography to link evolution and ecology
Chantepie: Actuarial senescence increases the risk of extinction of mammal populations
Lohr: Reduced lifespan and increased ageing driven by genetic drift in small populations
FitzJohn: What drives biological diversification?
Hoekstra: Sexual something (title had symbols, but it was about evolution of sex)