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Distinguished Speaker Seminar – MT2016

02 Dec 16

Speaker: Professor Richard Durbin, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge

Title: Inferring population history from whole genome sequences

Abstract: Genome sequences carry genetic information to make an organism, but they are also products of evolution and as such carry information about the genetic history of individuals and species. In recent years analysis of genome sequence data has told us much about the origins of human populations across the world, their migrations and intermixing with other populations, including with archaic hominins such as Neanderthals and Denisovans. However, we are still at the beginning of the process of interpreting genetic history from genome sequences. To extract this information requires use of statistical analysis methods that make use of efficient approximations to population genetic models. I will discuss a series of methods to infer population history from whole genome sequence, with a particular emphasis on cases where there is gene flow or introgression between ancestral populations. I will present a new method based on hidden Markov models to infer ancestral introgression from deeply diverged populations, illustrated with an application to recently obtained genome sequences of Papuans and aboriginal Australians (Malaspinas et al., 2016).