Mathematics Colloquium: Population Genetics Stochastic Process Models Forward and Backward in time



  • Time:14:00-15:00 PM
  • Date: Wednesday, October 9, 2019
  • Venue: MA305
  • Speaker: Robert Griffiths


Classical stochastic process models in population genetics describe how a population of genes evolves forward in time under random drift, mutation, selection and recombination. Examples are the Wright-Fisher diffusion process; Moran models, which are birth and death processes; and Lambda- Fleming-Viot models, which are jump processes. Coalescent models, which are random trees or graphs, describe the ancestral lineages of samples of genes back in time. These backwards and forwards models belong together technically as dual stochastic processes. This talk will discuss examples of these forwards and backwards in time models.


Professor Robert Griffiths is a world renowned expert in population genetics. He has made many fundamental contributions to mathematical population genetics, such as probability distributions of gene frequencies and genealogical trees, orthogonal expansions for multivariate distributions, and computational algorithms for full likelihood inference in DNA sequences. Due to these great achievements in population genetics, Professor Robert Griffiths was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2010. From 1973 to 1989, Professor Robert Griffiths worked at Monash University. After that he joined the University of Oxford. In 2000, he was awarded the title of Professor of Mathematical Genetics at the University of Oxford. In October 2011 he retired as an Emeritus professor at the University of Oxford. Now he serves as an adjunct professor at Monash University.