New computational methods and next-generation sequencing (NGS) approaches have enabled the use of thousands or hundreds of thousands of genetic markers to address previously intractable questions. The methods and massive marker sets present both new data analysis challenges and opportunities to visualize, understand, and apply population and conservation genomic data in novel ways. The large scale and complexity of NGS data also increases the expertise and effort required to thoroughly and thoughtfully analyze and interpret data. To aid in this endeavor, a recent workshop entitled “Population Genomic Data Analysis,” also known as “ConGen 2017,” was held at the University of Montana. The ConGen workshop brought 15 instructors together with knowledge in a wide range of topics including NGS data filtering, genome assembly, genomic monitoring of effective population size, migration modeling, detecting adaptive genomic variation, genomewide association analysis, inbreeding depression, and landscape genomics. Here, we summarize the major themes of the workshop and the important take-home points that were offered to students throughout. We emphasize increasing participation by women in population and conservation genomics as a vital step for the advancement of science. Some important themes that emerged during the workshop included the need for data visualization and its importance in finding problematic data, the effects of data filtering choices on downstream population genomic analyses, the increasing availability of whole-genome sequencing, and the new challenges it presents. Our goal here is to help motivate and educate a worldwide audience to improve population genomic data analysis and interpretation, and thereby advance the contribution of genomics to molecular ecology, evolutionary biology, and especially to the conservation of biodiversity.
- bioinformatics pipeline
- conservation genomics workshop
- diversity in STEM
- landscape genomics
- population genomics