In order to predict how populations will evolve in the future, we need to know how they are evolving right now. The rapid advance of genetic sequencing technology is creating the potential to do this on an unprecedented scale, but we need to figure out what sequences we need and how to interpret them. Doing so will require new analytical tools that ask questions that are only now becoming answerable. We have developed a method for Minimal-Assumption Genomic Inference of Coalescence (MAGIC) – please try it out and let us know what you think!
Sequencing data is far and away our best tool for observing natural microbial populations (i.e., most of life on Earth) – our best hope for answering any question about them is to reduce it to a sequencing problem. We are working on how to do this in general, and in specific applications, including studying the influenza transmission process.