Emerging challenges and opportunities in quantitative genomics

Fri, Oct 16, 2015, 10:00 am to 11:30 am
Andrew G. Clark- Cornell University
The underlying biological principle that gives a quantitative analysis of genome sequences its depth and power is of course evolution. This talk will illustrate how the power of evolutionary modeling of variation in DNA sequences allows one to make surprisingly strong inferences about gene function. Those inferences span an enormous range of contexts, from the adaptive nature of gene function in natural populations, to the role of gene dysfunction in disease. Evolutionary logic, coupled with a statistical/computational approach, is being applied with great efficiency to rapidly discover genetic variants that underlie Mendelian and complex disorders. An evolutionary perspective also gives terrific power to model organisms, not only to understand basic principles in biology, but leverage natural variation to dissect gene regulation and function. Recently the Obama administration has sought to stimulate research in aspects of quantitative genomics with initiatives for “Big Data” (https://datascience.nih.gov/bd2k) and “Precision Medicine” (http://www.nih.gov/precisionmedicine/). Both initiatives, despite the politics and hype, actually do present opportunities for both interesting and useful science, and we will try to highlight some examples.
Location: 
Robertson Hall-Dodds Auditorium

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