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Summer SAVY 2017, Session 2/Day 3- Genetic Epidemiology (Rising 6th/7th)

Posted by on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in SAVY.

I can’t believe we are already more than half way through SAVY! I really do hope your students are enjoying learning about human genetics and genetic epidemiology. We picked up this morning right where we left off yesterday – plotting the data from our genome-wide association study. Yesterday the students learned how to run a genetic association study (and then scale it up to a genome-wide association study), so today we made a manhattan plot to help us visualize our results (because no one wants to sort through 200,000+ SNPs manually!).

Today we also learned about genetic ancestry and diversity. Genetic admixture occurs when two previously isolated populations begin mating, resulting in a mixing of ancestral DNA. The African American population is a perfect example of an admixed population, because they have both African and European ancestors. For a population of African Americans, we estimated the proportion of each individual’s genome that is from an African or European ancestor and we found that our population has about 80% African ancestry and 20% European ancestry. And then, of course, we learned how to visually display these results through plots. (Plots are the best!) We also got to see how genetically different individuals from across the world are. Specifically, we saw how Asian-descent individuals tend to be similar genetically, but they are very different from European or African descent individuals. The students got to create some really interesting plots describing this, which we can’t wait to show off at open house!

This is honestly one of my favorite things about human genetics, so I’m so glad that I got to share it with your children. I can’t wait for the rest of the week!

Dr. Jones