Ethan Linck

Ph.D. Candidate, UW Biology

New preprint : MAF cutoffs and inferring population structure

Inferring population structure – the subdivision of a species into groups of individuals interbreeding with each other at a higher frequency than expected by chance – is a fundamental goal of population genetics. Beyond its obvious relevance to systematics, taxonomy, and conservation, understanding patterns of population structure is crucial for a range of applications, from detecting selection and migration to identifying genetic variants associated with specific traits in genome-wide association studies (the red-hot “GWAS” trend). While on the one hand, the wealth of data resulting from the advent of next generation sequencing technology has proved a boon for describing subdivision in nonmodel organisms, it has also provided challenges. For example, many computational methods for detecting structure were developed prior to the genomics era and may not be suited to the unique characteristics of large SNP datasets. Of these, Pritchard et al.’s structure is the most widely cited, and the basis for a raft of other methods that feature an underlying generative model and explicitly estimate a suite of population genetic parameters.

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Blog resurrection

Brendan skiing Ulrich’s Couloir off the summit of Mt. Stuart this May.

It’s been over a year since I last posted at Beyond the Ranges. I’m a little sad about this. My old blog was a labor of love, a reminder that I love taking photographs, and the archive of a half decade of adventure between the end of college and the present day. There are a number of reasons why I couldn’t keep it up, though. Writing for The Stranger and my subsequent increase in freelancing activity certainly cut in to my desire to pen 3000-plus carefully considered words about sliding on snow. My own interest in reading about running and skiing has decreased lately, and blogs in general appear to be a thing of the past. Most importantly, I needed to start a real professional website (this one), which became my primary home on the internet, but BTR proved a bit too big and clunky to import from WordPress.

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