Friday seminar: 100 years after William Bateson - what can we learn about epistasis by today's statistical machine learning?

By Jukka Corander 


Roughly 100 years ago William Bateson coined the term epistasis, which is today generally considered as a form of interaction between two loci in DNA. Research in epistasis has over the years revealed fascinating biological insights, however, until very recently, progress has been slowed by limited availability of densely sampled population data. Given the advent of latest sequencing technology we are finally facing a possibility to query what experiments nature has performed concerning epistasis. I will present latest research results from a close collaboration with the Pathogen Genomics group at WTSI on how we can advance understanding about epistasis in genomes by exploiting core concepts from statistical physics and statistical machine learning algorithms for ultra-high dimensional models. Our genome-wide epistasis analysis reveals interacting networks of resistance, virulence and core machinery genes in Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Jukka Corander
PhD, Professor
Department of Biostatistics
University of Oslo


Jukka Corander is a professor of biostatistics at University of Oslo and a professor of statistics at University of Helsinki. He is the vice-director of the COIN Centre of Excellence in computational inference research (, funded by the national research council of Finland. Professor Corander has published 175 scientific articles and he received the ERC starting grant in 2009 for the development of intelligent inference algorithms in Bayesian statistics. The statistical methods introduced by the group of Corander have led to numerous important discoveries on the evolution, resistance, virulence and transmission of pathogenic bacteria and viruses.


Published May 9, 2016 10:39 AM - Last modified Mar. 8, 2021 9:32 AM