Speaker: Tandy Warnow, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Location: Warren Weaver Hall 1302
Date: November 11, 2016, 11:30 a.m.
Host: Dennis Shasha
Estimating the Tree of Life is one of the hardest computational challenges in biology, due to the combination of NP-hardness, large datasets (millions of species and tens of thousands of genes), and complex evolutionary processes. In this talk, I will describe one of the particularly difficult problems in computational evolutionary biology: the inference of a species tree from a set of gene trees that can conflict with each other due to biological processes such as deep coalescence, gene duplication and loss, and horizontal gene transfer. Statistically consistent methods based on the multi-species coalescent model have been developed to estimate species trees in the presence of incomplete lineage sorting; however, the relative accuracy of these methods compared to the usual "concatenation" approach is a matter of substantial debate within the research community. In this talk I will present new state of the art methods we have developed for estimating species trees in the presence of incomplete lineage sorting (ILS), and show how they can be used to estimate species trees from genome-scale datasets. I will also discuss tradeoffs between data quantity and quality, and the implications for big data genomic analysis.
Refreshments will be offered starting 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start of the talk.