Phylogeny Workshop

February 6 - 8, 1995
Princeton University

Simon Tavare,

Organization Committee:
Martin Farach, CS, Rutgers
David Maddison, Biology, Arizona
Peter Smouse, Theoretical and Applied Genetics Center, Rutgers
Robert Vrijenhoek, Theoretical and Applied Genetics Center, Rutgers
Tandy Warnow, University of Pennsylvania
Presented under the auspices of the Special Year in Mathematical Support for Molecular Biology.

The study of evolution has become rather more quantitative since the recombinant DNA revolution. The phylogeny of a set of species is a model of the evolutionary relationship of that set. Almost all such models in use can be described as trees or tree-like structures that are among the most basic structures of discrete mathemematics. The study of phylogenetic tree construction is an important area of biology, with significant statistical and algorithmic components. These two facets play off each other since one is often forced into a tradeoff between the statistically relevant and the computationally tractable.

The workshop will be concerned with combinatorial, algorithmic, and statistical aspects of phylogenetic tree construction. We will be interested in finding parsimonious phylogenies (using either Steiner minimal trees or minimal spanning trees), with searches through phylogenetic solution space, with modeling operational taxonomic units as either nodes of trees or both nodes and branches, with cophenetic correlation measures of how well a particular tree matches raw data, and with discrete Fourier methods. We will investigate tree reconstruction based on genome orders, speciation, fossil record and inference about divergence times, non-tree structures like those proposed by Dress and others, and the effects of recombination. We will discuss the methods that are available for tree reconstruction with many different sorts of molecular data all at the same time -- a very important practical issue. It is our goal to address strengths and weaknesses of construction methods (distance methods, parsimony, statistical (such as maximum likelihood), and invariants); computational issues involving software and supercomputing applications; and algorithmic issues; and to set an agenda for future work in computational phylogeny.

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Document last modified on December 12, 1994