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Mini-course on genome-scale phylogeny
Inferring gene trees with species trees
Molecular phylogeny has focused mainly on improving models for the reconstruction of gene trees based on sequence alignments. Yet, most phylogeneticists seek to reveal the history of species. Although the histories of genes and species are tightly linked, they are seldom identical, because genes duplicate, are lost or horizontally transferred. Building models describing the relationship between gene and species trees can thus improve the reconstruction of gene trees when a species tree is known, and vice-versa. Several approaches have been proposed to solve the problem in one direction or the other, but in general neither gene trees nor species trees are known. Only a few studies have attempted to jointly infer gene trees and species trees.
I introduce models that describe the relationship between gene trees and species trees. I begin with models that account for gene duplication and loss, and subsequently introduce models that account for the horizontal transfer of genes. I review results from simulations as well as empirical studies on genomic data that show that combining gene tree-species tree models with models of sequence evolution improves gene tree reconstruction. In turn, these better gene trees provide a better basis for studying genome evolution or reconstructing ancestral chromosomes and ancestral gene sequences. I also discuss the possibility of extracting information on the timing of speciation events from ancient horizontal transfer events.
Gene tree-species tree methods for comparative genomics
Evolution of genome organization