Warren Ewens is a biologist who focuses on mathematics and statistics associated with evolutionary population genetics and computational biology. He introduced Ewens’s sampling formula, a mathematical approach that applies probability to overcome problems associated with nonrandom gene sampling under certain conditions.
Together with Richard Spielman, Warren created the transmission disequilibrium test (TDT), a family-based association test now widely used to analyse genetic links associated with human diseases. Whilst population structure can cause genetic association, inherited genetic traits — referred to as genetic linkage — are not affected. This makes the TDT a robust technique when studying population genetics.
Gene transmission is a highly mathematical subject. Warren’s techniques have enabled him to reconstruct a phylogenetic tree from the DNA sequences of various species to reflect the evolutionary branching process. He has also created mathematical methods to store, retrieve and analyse the large quantities of data obtained from studies such as the human genome project.
Emeritus Professor of Biology, University of Pennsylvania
Interest and expertise
Statistics and Operational Research
Organismal biology, evolution and ecology
Biological statistics, Evolution, Population genetics
Population genetics, genomics, disease genetics, statistics