Summer School

Integrated methods to detect polygenic adaptation from genomic data

28 Aug – 30 Aug 2017, Zurich, Switzerland

Directions and bus schedule: WSL -- How To Get There (PDF, 398 KB)

Followed by a symposium 31 Aug - 1 Sept, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Why this event?

Over the last decade, the genomic revolution has offered the possibility to generate tremendous amounts of data that contain valuable information on the genetic basis of phenotypic traits, such as those linked to human diseases or those involved in species' adaptation to changing environments. Most ecologically and economically relevant traits are controlled by a large number of genes with small individual effects on trait variation, but that are connected with one another through complex developmental, metabolic, and biochemical networks. As a result, it has recently been suggested that most adaptation events in natural populations are reached via correlated changes at multiple genes at a time, for which the name polygenic adaptation has been coined. Detecting polygenic signals of adaptation in genomes is, however, challenging and current genomic approaches often reveal only a small proportion of the genetic determinants of trait variation. We will discuss what relevant information need to be extracted from genomic data to detect signals of polygenic selection and eventually predict phenotypic evolution.



This Summer School will offer the opportunity to acquire a deeper knowledge of the methods that map genetic to phenotypic or environmental variation and their limitations, and to learn new approaches to analyze genomic data to detect the signature of selection on polygenic traits. You will learn methods which integrate functional data from gene interaction networks, or use information about genetic co-variation among genomic polymorphisms. The basic theory of quantitative and population genetics that underlies many of the approaches presented will be reviewed and a critical overview of the role of epistasis in the evolution of polygenic traits will be provided.


Credits: 1 ECTS


Schedule and abstracts (PDF, 138 KB)

Monday, August 28:

Modeling the polygenic architecture of quantitative traits and Analysis of signals of polygenic adaptation

Dr. Katalin Csilléry (ETH Zurich)

Prof. Frederic Guillaume (University of Zurich, Switzerland)

Prof. Sam Yeaman (University of Calgary, Canada)

Dr. Jeremy Berg (Columbia University, USA)


Tuesday, August 29:

The role of epistasis and gene interaction networks in adaptation

Prof. Josh Payne (University of Zurich, Switzerland)

Prof. Thomas Hansen (University of Oslo, Norway)

Dr. Josephine Daub (University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain)

Evening: Wine tasting and dinner


Wednesday, August 30:

The principles of genome wide association mapping (GWAS) and phenotype prediction, post-GWAS and applications in plant systems

Prof. Peter Visscher (University of Queensland, Australia)

Prof. John Mckay (Colorado State University, USA)

Evening: Closing apéro


Engler Saal HS B72, Eidg. Forschungsanstalt WSL, Zürcherstrasse 111, 8903 Birmensdorf ZH

See more information here for how to reach the Summer School venue.

The Summer School will be followed by a two-day research Symposium (31 Aug – 01 Sep 2017) at ETH Zurich. See details here.


How to participate


We are not accepting any new application, thank you for your interest!

The event will accommodate 50 participants.

Students of the Life Science Zurich Graduate School (LSZGS) at the ETH and University of Zurich, and applicants affiliated with the EVOLTREE and GENTREE European networks have priority to the school.

List of EVOLTREE partners: Link
List of GENTREE partners: Link

Applicants not part of these groups will no longer be accepted if they apply now.



The tuition fee is 200 CHF for all participants not enrolled in the Life Sciences Zurich Graduate School (LSZGS).

Members of institutions affiliated with the EVOLTREE European networks are elligible for funding covering their travel and accommodation costs.

The school is free of charge for students enrolled in a graduate program of the LSZGS at UZH or ETH Zurich.

Travel and accommodation are not included.


Travel and accomodation

Recommended hotels near WSL Birmensdorf: list

Travelling to WSL Birmensdorf: info



The Summer School is supported by the Graduate Campus of the University of Zurich, the European networks EVOLTREE and GENTREE, and the WSL Birmensdorf.

Organizing committee

Dr. Katalin Csilléry (ETH Zurich & WSL Birmensdorf)
Prof. Dr. Frédéric Guillaume (University of Zurich – IEU)
Dr. Felix Gugerli (WSL Birmensdorf)
Dr. Christian Rellstab (WSL Birmensdorf)
Dr. Tony Weingril (University of Zurich – LSZGS Evolutionary Biology)
Dr. Debra Zuppinger-Dingley (University of Zurich – LSZGS Ecology)