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"How Related Are We?" - Public Talk

Manawatū Branch, Royal Society Te Apārangi

"How Related Are We?", by Bruce Weir, University of Washington and Massey University

Tuesday 16 April, 7.30pm, Palmerston North City Library

Although we understand that we are more related to our siblings than to our cousins, and we may accept that we are more likely to have genetic similarities with members of our own ancestral group than with other groups, we may find it difficult to put numerical values on degrees of relatedness.

There are straightforward ways of quantifying relatedness when family histories or pedigrees are known, and these ways have been useful for many years in plant and animal breeding programs. In many applications, however, pedigree information is not available, or may not be reliable, and population-based searches for genes that affect human disease, or genealogical searches for the perpetrators of unsolved crimes, instead use genetic profiles to quantify degrees of relatedness of individuals.

A problem that has affected many current methods is that relatedness depends on context: the extent to which people appear to be related may be different in societies that either encourage or discourage cousin marriages, for example. This talk will review current ways of estimating how related are pairs of individuals, and introduce some new methods that seem to be robust.

The methods are statistical, but the talk will not be mathematical.

Bruce Weir FRS, Hon FRSNZ is one of New Zealand’s most eminent scientists. He is a statistical geneticist whose methods are used across multiple disciplines to characterize the structure of natural populations, to interpret matching DNA forensic profiles, and to locate human disease genes. Outside academia he is known for testifying in the O. J. Simpson murder trial in 1995.

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April 16 2024 19:30 - April 16 2024 20:30
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XXmin to Palmerston North CBD
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All Ages
Category: Public Talks & Tours




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