COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH: Estimating Species Trees from Multilocus DNA Sequence Data

Project: Research project

Project Details


An award is made to Harvard University and Ohio State University to develop statistical tools that can be used to build genealogical trees (phylogenies) of species using data sets consisting of multiple DNA sequences. Molecular data, such as DNA sequences, are frequently used to study the phylogenetic relationships of species, but current models for analyzing such data are not adequate and make a number of unjustified assumptions. In particular, existing methods tend to conflate the so called ?gene tree? of each DNA sequence, which can vary from one gene to the next, and the ?species tree?, which is usually the parameter of interest but can often differ from the gene tree(s). This project will develop methods that treat the gene tree and species tree as separate entities to be estimated from DNA sequence data. Phylogenetic trees are fundamental tools for biologists studying a wide array of phenomena, including the sources of disease outbreaks, cancer genetics, the evolution of humans and biodiversity. They are an important product of the human genome project and the many ongoing and completed genome projects will all produce data sets consisting of multiple genes. This project will allow biologists to make more efficient use of such data sets and to develop more accurate phylogenetic trees.

Effective start/end date5/15/084/30/12


  • National Science Foundation: $45,560.00
  • National Science Foundation: $45,560.00


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