Health Research and Policy


DATE: May 9, 2013
TIME: 1:15 - 3:00 pm
LOCATION: Medical School Office Building, Rm x303
TITLE: Consensus-based Estimation of Species Trees from Gene Trees: Surprises and Challenges
SPEAKER: Noah Rosenberg
Associate Professor, Dept of Biology, Stanford

A species tree provides a representation of the bifurcating structure that relates a set of species. A gene tree, which need not be identical to the species tree, relates the ancestry of a set of genetic lineages sampled from the species at a particular point in the genome. Conditional on a species tree, gene trees can be viewed as generated probabilistically from a distribution that naturally extends standard perspectives on within-population evolution. However, the gene tree distribution on the space of possible trees has unexpected combinatorial properties that produce surprising consequences for methods of reconstructing evolutionary trees. We explore these properties theoretically, using simulations, and with an example from data on North American pines.

Suggested reading:
James H Degnan and Noah A Rosenberg. Gene tree discordance, phylogenetic inference and the multispecies coalescent.

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