Recent novel approaches for population genomics data analysis

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Abstract

Next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology is revolutionizing the fields of population genetics, molecular ecology and conservation biology. But it can be challenging for researchers to learn the new and rapidly evolving techniques required to use NGS data. A recent workshop entitled ‘Population Genomic Data Analysis’ was held to provide training in conceptual and practical aspects of data production and analysis for population genomics, with an emphasis on NGS data analysis. This workshop brought together 16 instructors who were experts in the field of population genomics and 31 student participants. Instructors provided helpful and often entertaining advice regarding how to choose and use a NGS method for a given research question, and regarding critical aspects of NGS data production and analysis such as library preparation, filtering to remove sequencing errors and outlier loci, and genotype calling. In addition, instructors provided general advice about how to approach population genomics data analysis and how to build a career in science. The overarching messages of the workshop were that NGS data analysis should be approached with a keen understanding of the theoretical models underlying the analyses, and with analyses tailored to each research question and project. When analysed carefully, NGS data provide extremely powerful tools for answering crucial questions in disciplines ranging from evolution and ecology to conservation and agriculture, including questions that could not be answered prior to the development of NGS technology.

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