Distinguished Speaker Series: Algorithms for recombination detection with an application to SARS COV-2

Prof. Jotun Hein, Department of Statistics, University of Oxford

07 April 2022, 14:00 
Room 222, Britannia building, Life Sciences Faculty, TAU 
Distinguished Speaker Series

You are cordially invited to the lecture
of the IAS Distinguished Scholar

Held jointly with the Edmond J. Safra Center for Bioinformatics


Professor Jotun Hein

Department of Statistics, University of Oxford

The lecture will be held on Thursday 7 April 2022 at 14:00, Room 222, Britannia Building (Life Sciences)




Abstract: The evolutionary process of genetic recombination has the potential to rapidly
change the properties of a viral pathogen, and its presence is a crucial factor
to consider in the development of treatments and vaccines. It can also significantly
affect the results of phylogenetic analyses and the inference of evolutionary rates.
The detection of recombination from samples of sequencing data is a very
challenging problem and is further complicated for SARS-CoV-2 by its relatively
slow accumulation of genetic diversity. The extent to which recombination is
ongoing for SARS-CoV-2 is not yet resolved. To address this, we use a
parsimony-based method to reconstruct possible genealogical histories for samples
of SARS-CoV-2 sequences, which enables us to pinpoint specific recombination
events that could have generated the data. We propose a statistical framework for
disentangling the effects of recurrent mutation from recombination in the history
of a sample, and hence provide a way of estimating the probability that ongoing
recombination is present. We apply this to samples of sequencing data collected
in England and South Africa and find evidence of ongoing recombination.


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