Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences

Biomolecular Function and Evolution in the Context of the Genome Project

July to December 1998

Organisers: P Donnelly (Oxford), W Fitch (Irvine), N Goldman (Cambridge)

Programme theme

There is a long and productive history of interplay between genetics on the one hand and mathematics and statistics on the other. The ``molecular revolution'' over the last 15 years, and in particular the impetus of genome projects, has transformed the field to one with an abundance of data and a paucity of relevant mathematical models and techniques. By 1998, the maturation of genome projects will make data on DNA, proteins, gene duplications and gene arrangements on the chromosomes widely available. As a consequence of recent advances in computational statistics, vast improvements in the quality of statistical analyses of these data are possible. They will have a profound impact on the practice of biological research, and, ultimately, medical diagnostics and preventive medicine. The driving force of the present programme is the opportunity offered by genome sequence research to understand biomolecular function and evolution at a much more complete level than hitherto possible and to sustain recent progress in a number of relevant mathematical areas. Problems in analysing the flood of molecular genetic sequences and structures raise a range of challenging biomathematical research topics. This inter-disciplinary programme will bring together mathematicians and computer scientists working on subjects such as probabilistic modelling, stochastic processes, geometry, statistical data analysis, computational complexity, neural networks, genetic algorithms and expert systems; and molecular biologists working in medical and biological fields.

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