Inferring the Demographic History of Human Populations with Approximate Bayesian Computation
Every individual’s genome carries within it the history of all the ancestors of that individual. Thus, by analyzing a small number of genomes, we can accurately infer the demographic history of entire human populations. We look at questions such as how the ancestors of modern populations were related, the size of populations over time, and when populations mixed. This demographic history helps establish a baseline that is needed for research and discovery in medical genomics. Specifically, I'm studying the history of Ashkenazi Jews as it relates to other Jewish populations, Middle Eastern populations, and European populations. To find the most likely history, I simulate genomes from hundreds of people, millions of times with different histories and compare the simulated genomes to genomes from real people.
(Refreshments will be served.)