Monday, May 14, 2007

Math and Genes

If you start reading about genetics, you start running into a lot of mathematics. Well, you don't usually know you have, but the math is there. Articles will appear that talk about the evolution of genes (or species) and refer to work that was done to try and determine when a gene mutated. The articles seldom (never?) actually show you the math, but here's one that does from MathTrek - A Grove of Evolutionary Trees.

2 comments:

JuanPablo said...

there are several untold stories about math and biology.

For example, the "purest" mathematician G H Hardy reconciliated the genetics of Mendel with Darwin's evolution, see this link among several others.

Also, there is a nice article of Samuel Karlin in the vol. 10 of the Bulletin AMS (1984)

MathCogIdiocy said...

Thanks for the link - having had a minimal education in biology, this was very interesting. I'll try to look up the AMS article this week.

Stuck in with all my research on cognition and math, is a paper about two genes that affect brain size and the approximate times they mutated. I found the article interesting because one would have mutated around the time society changed from a hunter-gatherer model to an agricultural one. The second gene had a fairly modern "date" - possibly as recently as 500 years ago. The problem is that the math used to determine the dates wasn't shown, but there was a discussion from reviewers about it.

Maybe I'll just gather up all the information and write about it here. :-)