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 IU Trident Indiana University

Population Genomic Theory

Project Lead: Michael Lynch

Scientific Application and Performance Tuning, Systems Group, UITS Research Technologies - Research made possible via Big Red II

Daphnia Water Flea
Figure 1. Images of daphnia pulex (water flea): female (left) and male (right)

We have developed mathematical tools to extract information from single genomes. From this we can learn more about the population of which the individual is a member.

Our goal is to get more information from the thousands of genomes that are now being sequenced, including thousands of human genomes. This information can be used to track the historical demographic changes of human populations, or estimate the genetic diversity of endangered species.Professor Peter Hammond.

Modern science is often able to collect more data than can immediately be analyzed. Genomic sequences are a prime example of this challenge. Especially when we sequence the genomes of non-model organisms, such as humans, the platypus, or the giant sequoia, we need new ways to analyze the results. When we sequence an individual, we are simultaneously sequencing chromosomes that came from its mother and father. Similarly, the parental chromosomes came from the grandparents, and chromosomes of grandparents are inherited from great grandparents. Thus, the genome of a single individual can provide a lot of information about the underlying processes shaping the genetics of the whole population. Initially, this “extra” information can be confusing and is often ignored. But if we have ways to analyze it, we could learn quite a lot about the history of that individual, and the structure of the population of which it is a member. We are now developing the theory and the practical computational tools that allow us to extract this information from modern genome projects.

NSF GSS Codes:

Primary Field: Genetics (610) Human-Medical Genetics

Secondary Field: Computer Science (401) Data Modeling