The UQ Alliance for Complex Trait Genomics (ACTG) is an analytical hub developed to facilitate research and collaboration opportunities between established complex trait genomics groups across UQ.

ACTG comprises UQ research teams focusing on human health and disease (IMB, QBI, UQDI), agriculture (QAAFI) and model species (SBMS). Research methodologies for complex genetic traits, including risk prediction and integration of omics data are applicable across species. Methodological developments made in one field are relevant in other fields. More than 50 postdoctoral and PhD student researchers are associated with ACTG.

Complex traits are quantitative measures, diseases and disorders that are underpinned by multiple genetic and non-genetic factors. ACTG researchers study the full breadth of complex traits, for example: milk or beef production in cattle, psychiatric disorders, macademia nut yield, altitude adaptation, as well as model traits and species such as human height and drosophila. Many ‘omic measures, such as DNA methylation, gene expression, microbiomes, lipidomes are also complex traits.

Genomic analyses of human complex traits are characterised by data sets of many (currently up to hundreds of thousands) individuals and many genomic features (can be millions) per individual. A key feature of complex trait analysis is the understanding and utilisation of variation between individuals in a population.

ACTG was established is to facilitate technology transfer of complex trait genomic methods and software tools across disciplines. To achieve this ACTG runs seminars, workshops, an annual symposium and biannual Summer Institute in Statistical Genetics.

We have developed a full 4 credit course (offered second semester each year) that teaches the why and how of statistical methods and their computer applications to analyse genome-wide genetic data and phenotypes on large numbers of individuals. For more information on this course and to see prerequisite requirements: STAT3306 and STAT7306.

Annual symposium

The annual ACTG symposium encourages face-to-face networking and collaboration between the groups at UQ, and researchers at other Brisbane-based research institutes, QIMR Berghofer, QUT and Griffith University. In 2017 invited speakers included Prof. Cisca Wijmenga and Prof. Lon Cardon. Details of the 2018 will be finalised soon. Please register to receive notifications.

Summer Institute in Statistical Genetics (SISG)

ACTG hosted SISG 2017 at UQ. SISG 2017 was a series of two-day modules taught by international and Australian experts in statistical and complex trait genetics. SISG has been designed to provide geneticists with an introduction to modern methods of statistical analysis and statisticians to the statistical challenges posed by modern genetic data.

UQ will again be hosting the SISG in February 2019. Register your interest and join the mailing list to receive notifications for this event.

International Congress of Quantitative Genetics 2020

ACTG will be hosting the 6th International Congress of Quantitative Genetics in Brisbane June 14-19 2020, co-chaired by Ben Hayes and Naomi Wray. Following on from tradition of previous ICQG meetings (2016: Madison, USA; 2012: Edinburgh, UK; 2007 Hangzhou, China), this conference will bring together researchers from around the world working across species but united in methodologies of quantitative genetics of complex traits.