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Computational Methods in Phylogenetics

Mathematical Biology

Speaker: Katherine St. John, City University of New York
Location: 2112 MSB
Start time: Mon, Dec 2 2013, 3:10PM

Phylogenies, or evolutionary histories, play a central role in modern biology, illustrating the interrelationships between species, and also aiding the prediction of structural, physiological, and biochemical properties. The reconstruction of the underlying evolutionary history from a set of morphological characters or bimolecular sequences is computational hard under the optimality criteria favored by biologists. A simple representation for a phylogeny is a rooted, binary tree, where the leaves represent the species, and internal nodes represent their hypothetical ancestors. This talk will focus on some of the elegant questions that arise from modeling, visualizing, and searching the space of phylogenetic trees.