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Monday, March 16, 2015
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
CNLS Conference Room (TA-3, Bldg 1690)


Emergent simplicity of evolutionary dynamics and the possibility of predicting evolutionary future

Boris Shraiman
University of California, Santa Barbara

Evolution works through natural selection that acts on genetic variation and a mounting body of evidence suggests that large populations harbor a great deal of such “selectable” variation. This fact presents a challenge to the molecular genetics approach to evolution, built on the assumption that the latter is driven by infrequent large effect mutations, which can be identified and studied one at a time. On the other hand, evolutionary dynamics driven by the collective effect of numerous polymorphisms at different genetic loci, each of which with only a small individual contribution, lends itself to a “Statistical Genetics” approach inspired by Statistical Mechanics. The talk will explain how this StatMech-driven approach leads to a predictive theory of evolutionary dynamics in rapidly evolving asexual populations and will demonstrate its capacity to predict, based on a sample of genomic sequences, the emerging strain of seasonal Influenza virus.

Host: Robert Ecke