math bio colloquium Thursday, Nov. 18 at 3:30 in MG2050

math bio colloquium Thursday, Nov. 18 at 3:30 in MG2050

November 12, 2010

The mathbio colloquium series continues on Thursday, Nov. 18 at 3:30 p.m. in MG2050.

Dr. Tony Weisstein, Truman Biology Professor, will be speaking on:

“The Case of the Protective Protein: Using a population genetics simulation in an undergraduate lab course to test hypotheses for the evolution of an HIV resistance allele.”

Abstract: The delta-32 allele of the human CCR5 chemokine receptor gene helps protect against infection by HIV. Initial studies proposed that the allele’s current frequency (5–14% in many Caucasian populations) might have resulted from relatively recent natural selection by smallpox or the bubonic plague. In this talk, I will introduce an Excel-based simulation of population genetics that incorporates selection, drift, mutation, and migration. We will then examine a field-tested lab module in which students use this software to test hypotheses about the evolutionary history of the delta-32 allele. In the process, students learn the principles behind nonparametric statistics and explore the interactions between stochastic and directional evolutionary forces.