Resolving Ancient Radiations in the Age of Genomics - Prospects and Challenges
07/05/2013 - Room M203 at 14:00 - External Seminar
"An important goal of phylogenetics is to be able to consistently and accurately reconstruct the historical patterns of diversification among major organismic groups, such as animals. Gene-scale phylogenetics is insufficient to attain this goal due to the presence of poor resolution and incongruence in phylogenies of single and few genes. The increasing availability of genome-scale amounts of data promises to overcome the insufficiency of gene-scale phylogenetics and uncover the genealogical tapestry uniting all living organisms with unprecedented accuracy. I argue that a vast increase in data size alone - although necessary - may not be sufficient to achieve the desired accuracy for three reasons; the existence of short stems in the tree of life, the saturation of phylogenetic signal in molecular sequences, and the effect of systematic error on phylogenetic inference. Devising strategies to ameliorate the effect of such challenges on sequence evolution will be critical to the success of current efforts to reconstruct the tree of life."