Gene Tree Distributions Under the Coalescent Process

Laura Kubatko
Statistics/EEOB, The Ohio State University

(May 7, 2009 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM)

Gene Tree Distributions Under the Coalescent Process

Abstract

Evolutionary relationships among organisms are typically represented by a phylogenetic tree, which is mathematically described as an acyclic connected graph in which each internal node is connected through exactly three edges. In the field of phylogenetics, primary interest is on estimation of the species phylogeny, the tree that represents the actual sequence of speciation events that have led to the present configuration of species. However, numerous evolutionary processes can give rise to variation in the true evolutionary histories of individual genes, which are represented by gene trees. In this talk, we examine several distributions related to gene trees that arise when the coalescent process is used to model the relationship between gene trees and species trees. These distributions give insight into the challenges involved in using multi-locus data to estimate species-level phylogenies.