The May 2009 issue of Genome Research (www.genome.org) is a special issue celebrating the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth, and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species. Published online today, the issue features a collection of perspective reviews and primary research in comparative genomics, genome evolution, and population genomics. Authored by leaders in the field, the perspectives provide novel insight into topics at the heart of evolutionary genomics and evaluate the contributions of genomic research to studies of natural selection, human evolution, ancestry, quantitative trait variation, and the origin of prokaryotic organisms. The following sections highlight several of the primary research papers published in the issue, presenting novel insight on population genetics and molecular evolution.
1. Human population diversity and signals of recent positive selection
Recent advances in genotyping technology have allowed researchers to scan hundreds of thousands of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), utilizing this data to analyze genetic variation among and between populations across the globe with unprecedented power, helping us to learn more about our ancestry and evolutionary history than ever before. A series of primary research papers in this special issue of Genome Research have investigated human adaptation and evolution on a genome-wide scale, describing novel fine-scale genetic structure within and between populations around the world and presenting evidence for targets of recent positive selection in the genome.