This year's Biology of Genomes conference is in full swing at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Approximately 550 people have gathered to hear talks discussing the genetics of complex traits, cancer genomes, and more — as well as to mingle at the campus bar. During one session, Cornell University's Adam Siepel described a way to tease out demographic and ancestral information from a comparison of personal genomes. From his team's examination of these genomes, they conclude that African and Eurasians diverged about 50,000 years ago, which Siepel said is consistent with other data. However, they found that the San population diverged about 130,000 years ago, which Siepel noted to be on the higher side of previous estimates. Utah's Mark Yandell spoke about his group's VAAST tool, which he said is analogous to Blast, though it searches for statistically significant instances of dissimilarity rather than similarity. Later, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Guy Sella presented work showing that while classic selective sweeps are seen in different Drosophila species as a mode of adaptation, sweeps appear to rarely occur in humans. In addition, Aylwyn Scally from the Sanger Institute gave an update on the gorilla genome, and how that information can inform studies of diversity in great apes.
Lots of Genomes
May 13, 2011