UCL Division of Biosciences


Genetics, Evolution and Environment Inaugural Lecture - Professor Richard Mott - 17 October 2018

5:30 pm to 6:30 pm, 17 October 2018

Event Information

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Title: "Private, hidden and overlooked genomes"
Professor Richard Mott - Weldon Professor of Computational and Statistical Genetics, Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, UCL Genetics Institute (research profile)
Gustave Tuck LT, Wilkins Building (map)

Abstract: One can think about DNA sequence information through a variety of lenses, and in this lecture I will focus on different notions of genetic obscurity. As a first example, an individual's right to genetic privacy appears to block the sharing of data necessary to understand how genomes manifest their effects. We therefore need to invent ways to preserve privacy whilst permitting analysis. Seen through a different lens, we can ask if we even know how to best interpret the data that we do measure; are there important signals hidden in plain view? And finally, overlooked genomes may provide us with interesting but unexpected insights.
I will explore these three views. First, I describe a way to mix up the genomes of a population in such a way that we can make essentially the same analyses - and draw the same conclusions - that are usual in a genetic association study, but without revealing any individual genome information. Second, in the context of major depressive disorder, I discuss how genomic rearrangements reveals more information relevant to this disease than do orthodox approaches based on single nucleotide polymorphisms, and which links depression and mitochondria. Lastly, I discuss the analysis of an overlooked ancient Egyptian wheat genome from the UCL Petrie Museum, excavated almost a century ago by far-sighted archaeologists, long before DNA's role was known.

Please note: this event is free but requires registration