The long-term research goals of my laboratory are to understand patterns of genetic variation within and between populations and to use this information to address fundamental problems in Biology and Evolution. To this end, we are pursuing research projects in two broad and interrelated areas: 1) human population and evolutionary genomics and 2) delineating the genetic architecture of quantitative traits and complex diseases. The goals of these studies are to understand the genetic structure of human populations, infer important demographic events in human history, identify regions of the genome that have been affected by natural selection, and map genes that contribute to susceptibility of complex diseases and mediate inter-individual variation in quantitative traits. The raw data that we use to answer the questions described above include whole genome DNA sequence information and massively parallel measures of gene expression, protein, and metabolite levels. These data sets are inherently complex and quantitative, and we develop theoretical, statistical, and computational tools to extrapolate meaningful information from them.

Selected Publications:

Akey JM, Eberle MA, Rieder MJ, Carlson CS, Shriver MD, Nickerson DA, and Kruglyak L. (2004) Population history and natural selection shape patterns of genetic variation in 132 genes. PLoS Biol 2(10): e286.

Yvert G, Brem RB, Whittle J, Akey JM, Foss E, Smith EN, Mackelprang R, and Kruglyak L. (2003) Trans-acting regulatory variation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the role of transcription factors. Nat. Genet. 35:57-64.

Zhang K, Akey JM, Wang N, Chakraborty R, and Jin L. (2003) Randomly Distributed Recombination May Generate Block-like Pattern of Linkage Disequilibrium: An Act of Genetic Drift. Hum. Genet. 113:51-59.

Akey JM, Zhang K, Xiong M, and Jin L. (2003) The effect of single nucleotide polymorphism identification strategies on estimates of linkage disequilibrium. Mol. Bio. Evol. 20:232-242.

Akey JM, Zhang G, Zhang K, Jin L, and Shriver MD. (2002) Interrogating a high-density SNP map for signatures of natural selection. Genome Research. 12:1805-1814.

Akey JM, Jin L, and Xiong M. (2001) Haplotypes versus single marker linkage disequilibrium tests: what do we gain? European J. Hum. Genet. 9:291-300.

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