slimr: An R package for tailor-made integrations of data in population genomic simulations over space and time

Russell Dinnage, Stephen D. Sarre, Richard P. Duncan, Christopher R. Dickman, Scott V. Edwards, Aaron C. Greenville, Glenda M. Wardle, Bernd Gruber

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Software for realistically simulating complex population genomic processes is revolutionizing our understanding of evolutionary processes, and providing novel opportunities for integrating empirical data with simulations. However, the integration between standalone simulation software and R is currently not well developed. Here, we present slimr, an R package designed to create a seamless link between standalone software SLiM >3.0, one of the most powerful population genomic simulation frameworks, and the R development environment, with its powerful data manipulation and analysis tools. We show how slimr facilitates smooth integration between genetic data, ecological data and simulation in a single environment. The package enables pipelines that begin with data reading, cleaning and manipulation, proceed to constructing empirically based parameters and initial conditions for simulations, then to running numerical simulations and finally to retrieving simulation results in a format suitable for comparisons with empirical data – aided by advanced analysis and visualization tools provided by R. We demonstrate the use of slimr with an example from our own work on the landscape population genomics of desert mammals, highlighting the advantage of having a single integrated tool for both data analysis and simulation. slimr makes the powerful simulation ability of SLiM directly accessible to R users, allowing integrated simulation projects that incorporate empirical data without the need to switch between software environments. This should provide more opportunities for evolutionary biologists and ecologists to use realistic simulations to better understand the interplay between ecological and evolutionary processes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere13916
    Pages (from-to)1-11
    Number of pages11
    JournalMolecular Ecology Resources
    Issue number3
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Dec 2023


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