Applications of Supercomputers in Population Genetics

Applications of Supercomputers in Population Genetics

Gerard G. Dumancas (Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, USA)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7461-5.ch007
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Abstract

Population genetics is the study of the frequency and interaction of alleles and genes in population and how this allele frequency distribution changes over time as a result of evolutionary processes such as natural selection, genetic drift, and mutation. This field has become essential in the foundation of modern evolutionary synthesis. Traditionally regarded as a highly mathematical discipline, its modern approach comprises more than the theoretical, lab, and fieldwork. Supercomputers play a critical role in the success of this field and are discussed in this chapter.
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Background

The beginnings of genetics and of population genetics are one. Both started with Mendel; and were unrecognized until the rediscovery in 1900. That is in his simple genetics experiment wherein he considered the consequences of repeated self-fertilization; he showed that heterozygosity is reduced by half each generation and gave formulas for genotype frequencies in successive generations. This consequently led to the foundation of population genetics. The “golden age” of population genetics was the period when Haldane, Fisher, and Wright were producing their great work. That is, they reconciled biometry with genetics, quantified the approach to evolution, and created a totally new science. Thus, it is arguably the most successful mathematical theory in biology (Crow, 1987).

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