Claudia Solís-Lemus, Graduate Student, Department of Statistics, UW-Madison
Date and Time: Oct 28, 2015 (12:30 PM)
Location: Orchard room (3280) at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery Building
Bacteria and other organisms do not follow the paradigm of vertical inheritance of genetic material. Human beings, for example, inherit their DNA from their parents only (vertical transfer), but bacteria can share DNA between different species (horizontal transfer). Therefore, their evolution cannot be modeled by a tree. To incorporate these organisms to the tree of life, we need methods to infer phylogenetic networks. In this talk, I will present a statistical method to infer phylogenetic networks from DNA sequences. I will discuss the challenges and results on the identifiability and the optimization of the model. Our techniques to learn phylogenetic networks will enable scientists to incorporate organisms to the tree of life in parts that are more net-like than tree-like, and thus, complete a broader picture of evolution.