The field of phylogenetics seeks to study the evolutionary history for a collection of organisms. Phylogenetic techniques can be applied to a range of problems, including problems in epidemiology, forensic medicine, studies of parasite-host relationships, and the systematic classification of organisms. In this course, we will discuss the statistical models and algorithms that are used to infer phylogenetic trees using genetic data. Topics covered will include phylogenetic inference using parsimony, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian techniques, models for DNA sequence evolution, and models relating gene trees and species trees, with particular attention to the coalescent model.
The course is open for credit to graduate students in Statistics, Mathematics, or Biological Sciences. Students registered for credit as Stat 882 will be required to attend Thursday classes, which will include the discussion of background information to enrich the lecture as well as instruction in the use of software for carrying out phylogenetic inference. The Thursday sessions will be optional for other participants. Grading of Stat 882 will consist of homework and a final project.