UCL Division of Biosciences


Study directed by Aida Andrés receives award from the Society of Molecular Biology and Evolution

1 August 2019

The manuscript receives the award for best paper by a PhD student published in the journal Genome Biology and Evolution in 2018.


Balancing selection is an important form of natural selection that maintains advantageous diversity in populations. It is for example responsible for the thousands of MHC alleles present in humans, and the massive diversity observed in virtually all species with an MHC system. Identifying the targets of balancing selection is challenging, but critical to understand how natural selection maintains genetic polymorphism that generates advantageous phenotypic diversity in populations. In this manuscript, Bitarello and colleagues proposed a novel method to identify the signatures of balancing selection in genomes. When applied to multiple full human genomes this statistic allowed the Andrés group to identify dozens of previously unknown candidate targets of balancing selection. 


Signatures of Long-Term Balancing Selection in Human Genomes. Bitarello BD, de Filippo C2 Teixeira JC, Schmidt JM, Kleinert P, Meyer D, Andrés AM. Genome Biol Evol. 2018. 10(3):939-955. doi: 10.1093/gbe/evy054.