A Short Introduction to Likelihood Methods for Genetic Analyses (2018)

ECTS credits:

Course parameters:
Language: English
Level of course: PhD course
Time of year: September 2018
No. of contact hours/hours in total incl. preparation, assignment(s) or the like: Preparation: 15 hours. Assignments: 15 hours.
Capacity limits: 20 participants

Objectives of the course:
To introduce the PhD student to computer-based likelihood methods for genetic analyses.

Learning outcomes and competences:
At the end of the course, the student should be able to:

  • Understand how to write a likelihood related to her/his problem at hand
  • To make a choice about the method to implement the likelihood model
  • To write a computer program to implement the likelihood
  • To have the knowledge to interpret the results

Compulsory programme:
The student must attend the lectures and hand in the assigned problems.

Course contents:
The emphasis of the course is on practical implementation of likelihood methods and the three topics that are dealt with are

  1. the Concept of Likelihood
  2. Computing the likelihood using Newton-Raphson and the Method of Scoring
  3. Computing the likelihood using the EM algorithm.


  • Knowledge of basic calculus, including maximization of functions
  • Knowledge of matrix algebra
  • Previous exposure to basic statistics, including basic probability and linear regression
  • Exposure to mixed linear model methods
  • Basic programming knowledge with R

Name of lecturers:
Ole Christensen
Luc Janss
Daniel Sorensen

Type of course/teaching methods:
Lectures and exercises

Course notes will be provided.

Course homepage:

Course assessment:
Students must complete two sets of 2 out of 4 exercises each in order to obtain credit for the course.

Institute of Quantitative Genetics and Genomics, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

3, 5 and 7 September 2018

Research Center Foulum, Aarhus University, Blichers Alle 20, 8830 Tjele.

Deadline for registration is Wednesday 29 August 2018. Information regarding admission will be sent out no later than Friday 31 August 2018.

For registration or if you have any questions, please contact Daniel Sorensen, e-mail: daniel.alberto.sorensen@gmail.com