Abstract. Since the first draft human genome reference was produced in 2001 the genomes of 10’s of thousands of people have been sequenced with plans to sequence many hundreds of thousands more. This data has provided unprecendented insights into our evolutionary and demographic history in the relatively recent (10’s to 100’s of ka) past. More importantly it underpins the notion of personalized medicine, whereby variation in the human genome can be used to predict susceptibility to disease and prognosis from treatment. Recently, high quality draft reference genomes for several coral species have become available. This development, together with reductions in sequencing costs means that it is now feasible to pursue the analysis of whole genome variation in corals.The comprehensive maps of genomic variation provided by such data enable powerful analyses of past evolutionary and demographic history as well as monitoring of contemporary selection events such as bleaching. In this seminar I will provide an overview of the analytical techniques enabled by whole genome sequencing as well as preliminary results from sequencing of 150 Acropora tenuis colonies from the central Great Barrier Reef.
Biography. Ira Cooke is a senior lecturer in bioinformatics at JCU. He develops and implements methods for the analysis of large scale ‘omic’ (genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic) data and uses them to understand the basic biology, evolutionary history and population structure of corals. He also uses many of the same techniques to answer questions in human and animal health. His career spans a diverse range of disciplines. He received his PhD in soft-matter physics from ANU in 2006 and did his first postdoc developing models for lipid membranes at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Germany. He then moved to ecological modelling with a second postdoc at Cambridge University in the UK where he developed a computer model for farmland bird populations. In 2010 he returned to Australia and began his career in bioinformatics at La Trobe University with the Victorial Life Sciences Computation Initiative (now Melbourne Genomics). Since moving to JCU in 2016 he has turned his research interests to analyzing datasets in tropical health and the molecular biology of corals.