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Seminar

Seeing the wood for trees: analysing multiple alternative phylogenies

Nye, T (Newcastle )
Monday 17 December 2007, 11:30-11:50

Seminar Room 1, Newton Institute

Abstract

Phylogenetic analysis very commonly produces several alternative trees for a given set of taxa. This can be due to having several, possibly conflicting, sources of information (such as different sets of orthologous genes) or as a result of the nature of the analytic method itself (for example, sampling a large number of trees from a posterior distribution). Faced with several alternative trees, biologists typically seek a single concensus phylogeny -- thereby discarding important information.

We review some recent approaches to dealing with alternative phylogenies that arise from a multivariate statistical view-point. We go on to describe a novel approach for comparing alternative phylogenies that is based on the idea of a "tree-of-trees": trees with similar topologies are clustered together in the same way that a single phylogeny clusters species with similar DNA sequences. The tree-of-trees is constructed in an analogous way to a most parsimonious tree for DNA data. We illustrate these ideas by applying our method to some simple data sets.

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