Population perspectives on functional genomic variation in yeast.
Advances in high-throughput sequencing have facilitated large-scale surveys of genomic variation in the budding yeast,Saccharomyces cerevisiae These surveys have revealed extensive sequence variation between yeast strains. However, much less is known about how such variation influences the amount and nature of variation for functional genomic traits within and between yeast lineages. We review population-level studies of functional genomic variation, with a particular focus on how population functional genomic approaches can provide insights into both genome function and the evolutionary process. Although variation in functional genomics phenotypes is pervasive, our understanding of the consequences of this variation, either in physiological or evolutionary terms, is still rudimentary and thus motivates increased attention to appropriate null models. To date, much of the focus of population functional genomic studies has been on gene expression variation, but other functional genomic data types are just as likely to reveal important insights at the population level, suggesting a pressing need for more studies that go beyond transcription. Finally, we discuss how a population functional genomic perspective can be a powerful approach for developing a mechanistic understanding of the processes that link genomic variation to organismal phenotypes through gene networks.
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