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Last updated Dec 23, 2022



Camp Evolution VIII

Sede-Boqer Campus, December 18 22, 2022


Dmitri Petrov

Michelle and Kevin Douglas Professor of Biology

and the Director of the Program for Conservation Genomics

Stanford University


Populations Genomics and Systems Biology of Rapid Evolution


















Organizers: Ariel Novoplansky and Gili Greenbaum






Dmitri Petrov

First day

Previous workshops:

Camp Evolution I: Sympatric Speciation and Evolution of Sex

Camp Evolution II: Evolutionary and Ecological Genomics

Camp Evolution III: Human Evolutionary Genetics

Camp Evolution IV: Unresolved Problems in Evolutionary Biology

Camp Evolution V: Plant Evolutionary Biology after Darwin

Camp Evolution VI: Evolution on Fitness Landscapes

Camp Evolution VII: Control theory in evolution and development




Handout, ppt


Getting there



Lecture recordings:

day 3, day 4, day 5


Academic credit


Campus map



The workshop aims at bringing together full-fledged scholars and graduate students interested in anything evolutionary

Optional- students can earn 2 academic credits (BGU course # 001-2-3335) pending the submission of a written assignment.


Workshop description

Adaptation by natural selection is the central process in evolution and is at the core of some of the greatest problems facing humanity. From cancer to viral and bacterial pathogenicity, to evolution of drug and pesticide resistance, to agriculture and survival of biological diversity in the face of rapid global change, many of our most daunting challenges are related to rapid evolutionary adaptation. 


Adaptation was generally thought of as idiosyncratic and difficult to study - adaptive mutations are rare, happened a long time ago, and have been obscured by subsequent changes. Yet, to build a rich and predictive theory of adaptation, one must first obtain rich empirical data. We must identify individual adaptive mutations, understand their effects first on phenotypes and then on fitness across environments. We must do it at scale where we can infer probability distributions rather than rely on individual examples. Ultimately, because rapid evolution is occurring on timescales of ecology, one must also understand how rapid evolution interacts with ecological dynamics.


In this course we will explore theoretical and empirical underpinning of our understanding of rapid adaptation from standing genetic variation including the investigation of the forces that maintain functional genetic variation in populations and from de novo mutations. We will explore the dynamics of non-mutation-limited adaptation regimes that lead to clonal interference and soft selective sweeps and empirical means to study adaptation in this regime. We will investigate the properties of large adaptive jumps, events that are often derided as hopeful monsters and yet which are now being shown to be commonplace. Finally we will investigate how the ability to generate a large and representative set of adaptive mutations is allowing us now to start building full genotype-phenotype-fitness maps of adaptation.



Getting there, local amenities etc.


       Reaching Beer-Sheva from Tel-Aviv is best done by train

       From Jerusalem you should better take an Egged bus

       To Midreshet Ben-Gurion (mind you- not Kibbutz Sede-Boker), take Metropolin buses 60 or 64 from Beer-Sheva's Central bus station.

       The auditorium, The Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism, Bldg 23, Sede-Boqer Campus

       Proper meals can be ordered at the Sede Boqer field school but there are a few local eateries, a grocery store and a pub.

       All participants are welcome to join a dinner party on Wed, Dec 21, 2022.

       Please bring with you layered clothing (days can be nice and cozy but nights can be chilly), hiking shoes and a swimsuit (no promises but it might become useful in our hikes).


First day (Sunday, Dec 18, 2022):

       Participants staying at the local hostel/guesthouse are kindly requested to check in at the Sede-Boqer Field School Office (#13 on map of Midreshet Ben-Gurion)

       Get together: 13:00

       Orientation: 13:15

       First lecture: 13:30

@ The auditorium, The Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism, Bldg 23, Sede-Boqer Campus






Sun, Dec 18

Mon, Dec 19

Tue, Dec 20

Wed, Dec 21

Thu, Dec 22


08:30 10:15


Arrival and



How common is adaptation?

How large are the adaptive jumps? Molecular population genetics and genomics perspective


Experimental microbial evolution and direct observation and quantification of rapid evolution


Theory of adaptation. Fishers geometric model and adaptive walks



Building genotype-phenotype-fitness maps of adaptation


10:15 10:30


Coffee break


Coffee break


Coffee break


Coffee break


10:30 12:15

Get together: 13:00





Orientation: 13:15


Mutation-limited and non-mutation-limited regimes of adaptation. Soft sweeps. Theory and data



Experimental evolution in seminatural mesocosms


Empirical quantification of fitness landscapes. Steepness, ruggedness, and diminishing returns


Pareto optimality and tradeoffs


12:15 13:15


Lunch break


Lunch break


Lunch break


Lunch break


13:30 18:00


Foundations of population genetics. The key problematics


Visit to the David Ben-Gurion Archives




Hike: Nachal Karkash,

down the Zin




Hike: down the

Ramon Crater




Hike: Snapir Katan

@ Chatira Crater






19:00 20:15


Supper break


Supper break


Supper break


Conference dinner



20:30 21:30


Ruth Hershberg

The dynamics of adaptation under very prolonged resource exhaustion


`Viviane Slon

Admixture between Neandertals, Denisovans and Ancient Modern Humans


Gili Greenbaum

Extremely rapid evolution in the wild - are gene drives a good idea?


Yoav Ram

Simulation based inference in experimental evolution