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Are there alternatives to handling site-to-site rate variation in evolutionary characters

Presented by: 
JO McInerney National University of Ireland
Wednesday 22nd June 2011 - 16:00 to 17:00
INI Seminar Room 1
For more than 20 years, we have used the gamma distribution to effectively model site-to-site variation in evolutionary rate. This approach is usually implemented by first of all inferring a phylogenetic tree and then using a gamma distribution to improve the fit of the model and data. The result is almost always an improvement in likelihood scores, because apart from pseudogenes, most genes exhibit real variation in evolutionary rates among different sites. In our work we have sought to explore rate variation across characters and I will present our method and how it can work to improve phylogeny reconstruction. I will also speak about the need for future developments in this area and what I perceive to be the outstanding issues.
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University of Cambridge Research Councils UK
    Clay Mathematics Institute London Mathematical Society NM Rothschild and Sons