About the Blog Author: Dr. Lila Fishman is a Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Montana-Missoula. Her research focuses on understanding natural plant variation through the lens of evolutionary genetics and genomics, mostly using monkeyflowers as a model system. Follow her research on adaptation, speciation, and selfish evolution (and related activities) via the Fishman Lab.
Greetings from Missoula! It is a tremendous privilege to serve you this year as AGA President. I look forward to continuing to work with Journal of Heredity Editor-in-Chief Bill Murphy, Past-President Kelly Zamudio and President-Elect Beth Shapiro, as well as the other excellent folks on AGA Council, to build on the core strengths of the Association and develop new initiatives that reflect our shared vision for the future. Please reach out to me (firstname.lastname@example.org), AGA/Editorial Manager Anjanette Baker (email@example.com), or your closest AGA Council member if you have questions/suggestions or would just like to be more involved.
Choosing the topic and the venue for the Symposium is one of the awesome (in all senses of the term!!) responsibilities of being AGA President. I am excited to host the 2022 President’s Symposium at IslandWood near Seattle, WA on July 25-28th. IslandWood is a unique environmental education non-profit whose beautiful Bainbridge Island campus (certified LEED Gold for sustainability) provided an ideal venue for scientific and personal interactions among attendees as the site of the 2015 AGA Symposium.
The Symposium topic, Selfish Evolution: Mechanisms and Consequences of Genomic Conflict, highlights the fascinating ways that evolution by natural selection can occur without benefit (and often with costs) to individual or population mean fitness. Organismal complexity creates diverse arenas for selection on genetic units below the level of the individual, and the conflict that generates in turn may build additional layers of biological complexity. Thus, conflict over transmission (and its suppression) influences everything from the basic biology of meiosis, gametogenesis and embryo development to the evolution of species barriers and the nature of standing phenotypic variation within populations responding to environmental change. Furthermore, because natural and engineered “drivers” are already being deployed to rapidly move (often deadly) molecular cargo through wild populations, understanding the genetic mechanisms and evolutionary dynamics of natural driver is essential for safely and effectively implementing this management tool.
The 2022 Symposium program kicks off with the AGA Distinguished Lecture by Dr. David Haig and features 20+ speakers spanning diverse organisms, selfish elements/arenas, research approaches, and career stages, as well as a poster session and abundant time for formal and informal discussion. If you can join us, late registration is possible this week. If you cannot join us live, the talks will be recorded and made available later this summer.