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Model adequacy

Jeremy Brown
Louisiana State University

The role of model fit in resolving the Tree of Life

Jeremy Brown
Jeremy Brown

More data alone will not resolve the Tree of Life. That statement encapsulates perhaps the most striking lesson of phylogenomics. While genome sequences provide us with an invaluably rich source of information about evolutionary history, our ability to properly interpret this information is sometimes flawed, which has led to protracted debates about some of the most interesting and enigmatic relationships across the Tree. However, phylogenetic inference now has a robust grounding in statistical inference. This grounding gives us tools to at least recognize the existence, and hopefully resolve the source, of errors when they occur. These tools are important and broadly applied in other areas of statistical inference, but have been slow to be adopted in phylogenetics. In this talk, I will cover some of the strategies that have been proposed for assessing model fit, some of the reasons for the slow adoption, and the challenges that remain.