Joe Felsenstein is a world class geneticist. Joe is credited with coining the phrase “Muller’s Ratchet” after Nobel Prize winner Hermann Muller. Even though Joe is an evolutionist, Joe holds a unique position of being highly regarded by creationists for his work on population genetics. His work on Muller’s ratchet became a pillar of creationist population genetics.
Most certainly creationists reject the bulk of his claims on one of his favorite topics, phylogeny, but they have high regard for his works on population genetics. Joe is incredibly generous in making the compilation of his research of 34 years into a freely downloadable textbook for students of population genetics. I can attest to the great effort Joe put into the book to make his book accessible. Much of the math and concepts in theoretical population genetics is almost impenetrable (just read some Kimura, and you’ll get my drift). However, Joe makes a difficult topic accessible. He is a master Jedi of population genetics.
Here is Joe’s book:
http://evolution.genetics.washington.edu/pgbook/pgbook.html. Grab your copy while supplies last.
I want to publicly thank Joe for his generosity. His book gives the public the chance to sit under the tutelage of an expert in the discipline. This book encapsulates many of the ideas expressed in Mendel’s Accountant, such as Mendelian Segregation, the Multiplicative Fitness Model, the Additive Fitness Model, linkage, recombination, migration and stirring, Hardy-Weinberg, recombination, selection coefficients, etc.
Speaking of which, Mendel’s Accountant is publicly available as well at:
MENDEL is a genetic accounting program that allows realistic numerical simulation of the mutation/selection process over time. MENDEL is applicable to either haploid or diploid organisms, having either sexual or clonal reproduction. Each mutation that enters the simulated population is tracked from generation to generation to the end of the experiment – or until that mutation is lost either as a result of selection or random drift. Using a standard personal computer, the MENDEL program can be used to generate and track millions of mutations within a single population.
MENDEL’s input variables include such things as mutation rate, distribution specifications for mutation effects, extent of dominance, mating characteristics, selection method, average fertility, heritability, non-scaling noise, linkage block properties, chromosome number, genome size, population size, population sub-structure, and number of generations.
The MENDEL program outputs, both in tabular and graphic form, provide several types of data including: deleterious and beneficial mutation counts per individual, mean individual fitness as a function of generation count, distribution of mutation effects, and allele frequencies.
MENDEL provides biologists with a new tool for research and teaching, and allows for the modeling of complex biological scenarios that would have previously been impossible.
I was asked not to advertise Mendel’s Accountant until various papers had been published. But now that they have been published, I feel free to promote the work of the creationist population genetics dream team.
Photo credits: Deviant Art and Sports Illustrated