Population genomics@Nord 2024

teachingUkategorisert / By Joost Raeymaekers

*** Sorry, registration for the 2024 course is now closed. The next edition of the course is in spring 2026 ***

The 2024 PhD course in Population Genomics at Nord University (course code : BIO9001) is held in Bodø from 18th to 22th of March 2024. The course, sponsored by NORBIS, consists of a series of lectures, demonstrations and hands-on exercises that cover theory and practice of population genomics analyses. Topics include population genetic theory, introduction to command line, data formats, coalescence/population demography, analysis of population structure, adaptive evolution and inferring selection, gene-environment interactions, landscape genomics, and the analysis of admixture/hybridisation. Both understanding theory and acquiring the skills to analyse data will be emphasized.

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Classes: 18 – 22 March 2024
Excursion: 23 – 24 March 2024 (optional; info below)


Course coordination:
Joost Raeymaekers (JR)

Invited lecturers:

Emiliano Trucchi (ET)
Oscar Gaggiotti (OG)
George Antunes Pacheco (GAP)
Anja Westram (AW)
Lars Martin Jakt (MJ)
Irina Smolina (IS)
Alexander Jüterbock (AJ)


The course is offered every other year (i.e. every even year) as an intensive one-week course, Monday to Friday. About half the time will be devoted to lectures, and the other half to exercises. Lectures and exercises are 35 hours in total, and self-study is estimated to 30 hours. Preparation time for written report (home exam) is estimated to 35 hours. The total workload is thus 100 hours.

The plan of the five days, with two sessions per day, is as follows:

  • Session 1: welcome, practicalities, course introduction (JR)
  • Session 2: introduction to command line (unix), data formats, data conversion (MJ/AJ)
  • Session 3: introduction to R (AJ/MJ)
  • Session 4: population genetic theory (OG/ET)
  • Session 5: analysis of population structure (OG/IS)
  • Session 6: population history, demographic inference, coalescence (ET)
  • Session 7: genomic basis of adaptive evolution & inference of selection (GAP/OG/IS)
  • Session 8: admixture and introgression/hybridization (GAP/IS)
  • Session 9: landscape genomics, gene-environment correlations (JR)
  • Session 10: Open lab and introduction to the home exam (JR)

Students bring their own laptops with the latest version of R and RStudio installed. Some R packages will also be needed. The students will receive a reading list and software installation instructions before the start of the course and are expected to prepare well.

Learning outcomes and competence

After having completed the course, the students should:

Knowledge – have acquired in-depth understanding of topics, theories, processes, tools and methods used in population genomics.

Skills – have acquired the tools and abilities to conduct population genomic analyses, including data quality control, analyses, and interpretation of results.

General competencies – 1) be able to exchange views and experiences with evolutionary and molecular biologists and contribute to the development of good practice; 2) develop an understanding of modern scientific research in population genomics.


Basic knowledge in basic statistics, genetics and molecular biology. Prior experience with command-line programs (in particular R/Rstudio and Unix) will be an advantage. You will be provided with preparatory reading materials and guides to software installation (see “Course preparation” below).


The evaluation will be report-based. The students will analyze a population genomic dataset (preferably their own data or data related to their own research topic), interpret and write a report. The students deliver the report within a month after the end of the course (deadline: 30th of April 14:00).

Number of ECTS: 5


You can register here for the course on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Course excursion

Bodø’s beautiful surroundings offer many opportunities for outdoor activities. Preliminary plan:

  • On 23th of March, we can go on a Sea safari (with a zodiac boat) to Saltstraumen, one of the world’s strongest tidal currents, followed by an authentic stone age dinner in Tuvsjyen, Saltstraumen. The total price for this day is about nok 1600.
  • On 24th of March, we watch the weather forecast, check the snow quality and count the number of outdoor enthusiasts. Based on this we decide for cross country skiing, a beach hike or a small mountain hike.

Practical information

Accomodation – The most affordable accommodation in Bodø is offered by Studentinord in Nordavind, which is located on campus. Please register as soon as possible, since they are usually booked. Alternatives include airbnb, or ho(s)tels such as Scandic, Radisson Blu, Thon, Clarion, Bodø Hotell, City Hotel Bodø or Bodø Hostel.

Public transport and directions – Nord University campus Bodø is located 10 km from the city center, but can be reached in 20 minutes with bus 1, or in 30 minutes wit bus 2. The campus is in between two bus stops, “Studentparken” (5 minutes walk) and “Hokkåsterrassen” (3 minutes walk). A phone application (“Reis Nordland” both for time tables and tickets) make it easy and cheaper to take the bus. It is also good to know that the campus is conveniently located near the train platform of Mørkved, where you can get off in case you take the train from Trondheim. To find your way on campus, check MazemapOn Monday, we meet at Alexandria at 8h15.

Azure Lab Services – For the practical sessions, we will be using virtual machines via Microsoft Azure Lab Services. Shortly before the course, you will receive a link to register to the Azure platform. Access via ssh will be demonstrated during the first session.

Time table, rooms, online attentance – The course will run Monday to Friday, 9h-17h, with 1 hour lunch break. Times, rooms and weblinks for online attentance will be provided a few days before the course.

Course preparation

Literature – Please read the following articles prior to the start of the course.

  • Gaggiotti & Foll. 2010. Mol. Ecol. Res. 10:821-830
  • Jost et al. 2018. Evol. Apps. 11:1139-1148
  • Francois O & E Durand. 2010. Mol. Ecol. Res. 10:773-784.

These articles as well as more background articles about population genetics, including Population and quantitative genetics by Graham Coop, can be found here (check again later if the link does not work).

Software installation – Please bring a laptop with the following software installed:

  • R version 4.1.0 or higher (free for download)
  • RStudio (you can take the free version; only to be installed after you have installed R)
  • For Windows laptops: a ssh client such as MobaXterm or PuTTY

If you have no prior experience with these applications, you can take a look to these great tutorials by Evolution and Genomics:

Looking forward to see you in Bodø!