Biodemography reading group

Hilary Term 2020. 11:30-12:30 Thursdays in Meeting Room 3, unless otherwise indicated.

  • 16 January (Meeting Room 1): The 1958 UK Birth Cohort. The cohort profile publication is available here. Due to the non-selective nature of original recruitment, the cohort is regularly described as nationally representative, and routinely used as a proxy for UK population of that age group. A subsample of the original cohort was a control group for a series large genetic studies by Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium (original publications here and here) . The generated data have been subsequently used to study a variety of research questions, from medical research to demography and sociology. 
  • 23 January: Bias and representativeness in the 1958 UK Birth Cohort.
  • 30 January: Arnot and Mace (2020) on the association between sexual frequency and natural menopause timings. The authors explored the SWAN longitudinal dataset, designed to specifically study the health of women in the US during middle age, with an initial recruitment of 3000 participants, and almost annual follow-ups. More information on the SWAN longitudinal study can be found in the cohort’s website.
  • 6 February: Heritability of fertility in human populations:  Tropf et al. on “Human Fertility, Molecular Genetics, and Natural Selection in Modern Societies”. The authors use restricted maximum likelihood methods to explore the influence of common genetic variants on Number of children Ever Born (NEB), and Age at First Birth (AFB), and present an evolutionary interpretation to their findings.
  • 13 February: No meeting
  • 20 February: Supercentenarians: Barbi et al, published in Science in 2018  uses an Italian dataset to demonstrate that mortality decelerates after age 80, plateauing after age 105. The second manuscript, by Newman, available as a pre-print here, suggests that these original findings may be impacted by poor record keeping.
  • 27 February (Meeting Room 1): Concepts of biological age predictors. An overview on the topic is provided by the 2017 review by Jylhävä et al. Epigenetic clocks, such as the ones briefly mentioned during last week’s meeting, are reviewed by Bell et al. Finally, Fahy et al suggest that they present findings on the potential of reversing epigenetic ageing.
  • 5 March: The reading group will be looking at the new paper Coordinated Interaction: A model and test for globally signed epistasis in complex traits by Andy Dahl of the University of Chicago (and formerly a graduate student in this department). This paper proposes a more flexible model of interaction between genetic variants (epistasis), and a new statistical test to identify such interactions.
    Professor Dahl will be attending and will be leading the discussion of his paper.
  • 12 March:

In Trinity 2019 we focussed on classic papers about the evolution of ageing. Meetings are open to all.