Clay Mathematics Institute

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Bob Griffiths' Public Lecture

During his time as a Clay Senior Scholar at the University of Motreal in 2013, Bob Griffiths gave a public lecture on The Mathematics of Evolution. 

Abstract. Genes are transmitted randomly: this is why probability, a branch of mathematics, is used to model evolution within species. The lecture will give a non-technical overview of some models and explain the two-way interaction between mathematics and population genetics. Starting with the famous model of Wright-Fisher in the 1930’s, it will move to the revolutionary way of looking at evolution introduced by Kingman in 1982: instead of looking forward in time, we look backward! DNA data became available in the last decades and statis- tics now plays a crucial role in determining the ancestral trees back in time. An example is a statistical study of hotspots where DNA sequences are likely to break on reproduction.