SysGen Seminar – Teo Yik Ying (YY) – 1st May, 2017


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Andrew Siebel

T: +61 3 8344 0707

YY Teo

National University of Singapore

Monday 1st April
Babel Lower Theatre, The University of Melbourne

Detecting and characterizing signatures of positive natural selection in the human genome

Natural selection is a significant force that shapes the architecture of the human genome and introduces diversity across global populations. This process of Darwinian selection leaves a footprint in the genetic code of modern humans, which can be statistically identified and quantified. The question of whether advantageous mutations have arisen in the human genome as the result of single or multiple mutation events remains unanswered except for a handful of genes such as those that confer lactase persistence, affect skin pigmentation or cause sickle cell anemia. Here, I will describe a methodology development where I utilized a long-range haplotype method for identifying genomic signatures of positive selection, which is found to be considerably more sensitive and specific than existing methods such as iHS or XP-EHH. Our method also locates the founder haplotypes that are carrying the advantageous variants and infers their corresponding population frequencies. This presents an unprecedented opportunity to systematically interrogate the whole human genome whether a selection signal that is shared across different populations is the consequence of a single mutation process followed subsequently by gene flow between populations, or convergent evolution due to the occurrence of multiple independent mutation events either at the same variant or within the same gene. I will then demonstrate this method by applying it to fourteen populations across the entire globe, and separately to another collection of 30 populations from Asia.

Professor Teo is the Vice Dean (Research) of Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, and concurrently the Head of the Biostatistics and Modeling Domain in the School. He majored in statistical genetics and has gained international recognition for his work in genomics. He completed his DPhil training at the University of Oxford, after obtaining Distinction for his Masters in Applied Statistics at Oxford and graduating top of the cohort for the undergraduate programme in Mathematics at Imperial College, UK. He currently focuses on the development and application of mathematical and statistical techniques to understand the genetic aetiology of human diseases and genetic evolution in worldwide populations. He has conducted large scale genomic studies on populations from Africa, Europe and Asia, and currently chairs an international consortium investigating the genomes of more than 40 population groups in Asia.

In the past seven years, Prof Teo served as the Director for the Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Research, where the Centre is responsible for developing capabilities for disease surveillance, consultation and research to deter and to control potential infectious disease outbreaks. Prof Teo was also the Founding Director for the Centre for Health Services and Policy Research which approaches systems-level healthcare issues from a multidisciplinary perspective, connecting healthcare workers, patients, researchers, policy- and decision-makers to tackle complex themes in the fast-changing nature of health services delivery.

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