Time+Place: Tuesday 15/03/2016 14:30 Room 337-8 Taub Bld.
Title: Sex and the causes of mutation: Work at the interface of evolutionary biology and theoretical computer science
Speaker: Adi Livnat - COLLOQUIUM LECTURE http://sci3.haifa.ac.il/~alivnat/
Affiliation: Department of Evolutionary and Environmental Biology and the Institute of Evolution, University of Haifa
Host: Nir Ailon

Abstract:


I will first present a series of mathematical results regarding the 
role of sex in evolution using the basic equations of population 
genetics. I will show that looking at the basic equations from
new angles can provide results that are robust and elegant yet do 
not connect with traditional interpretations, thus raising the 
possibility that the role of sex is different than had been proposed 
before. For example, sex favors alleles that perform well across genetic 
combinations, and this effect occurs during the evolutionary transient, 
which has been relatively little studied. I will then revisit the nature 
of mutation in light of modern evidence, and argue that the causes of 
mutation are of fundamental importance for evolution: since genetic 
factors influence the probability of a mutation in a locus-specific 
manner, mutation can be thought of as a computational event with inputs 
and outputs, leading to a flow of information across the genome over the 
generations. This affects the nature of heredity in a way that brings 
the role of sex to the fore, while underscoring the importance of the 
computational lens for evolution. Multiple theoretical and empirical 
implications will be discussed.


Short Bio: 
Dr. Livnat is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Evolutionary 
and Environmental Biology and the Institute of Evolution at the 
University of Haifa. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University and 
was a Postdoctoral Miller Fellow at the Miller Institute for Basic 
Research in Science and the Computer Science Division at UC Berkeley. 
Dr. Livnat studies evolution from a theoretical and an empirical 
perspective, focusing on mechanisms of mutation and recombination and on 
work at the interface of evolutionary biology and theoretical computer 
science.

Refreshments will be served from 14:15
Lecture starts at 14:30