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Background Recombination rates vary at the level of the species, population and individual. Now recognized as a transient feature of the genome, recombination rates at a given locus can change markedly over time. Existing inferential methods, predominantly based on linkage disequilibrium patterns, return a long-term average estimate of past recombination rates. Such estimates can be misleading, but no analytical framework to infer recombination rates that have changed over time is currently a...
Phylogenetic studies based on molecular sequence alignments are expected to become more accurate as the number of sites in the alignments increases. With the advent of genomic-scale data, where alignments have very large numbers of sites, bootstrap values close to 100% and posterior probabilities close to 1 are the norm, suggesting that the number of sites is now seldom a limiting factor on phylogenetic accuracy. This provokes the question, should we be fussy about the sites we choose to incl...
We introduce a gene tree simulator that is designed for use in conjunction with approximate Bayesian computation approaches. We show that it can be used to determine the relative importance of hybrid speciation and introgression compared with incomplete lineage sorting (ILS) in producing patterns of incongruence across gene trees. Important features of the new simulator are (1) a choice of models to capture the decreasing probability of successful hybrid species formation or introgression as ...
Continuous-time Markov chains are a standard tool in phylogenetic inference. If homogeneity is assumed, the chain is formulated by specifying time-independent rates of substitutions between states in the chain. In applications, there are usually extra constraints on the rates, depending on the situation. If a model is formulated in this way, it is possible to generalise it and allow for an inhomogeneous process, with time-dependent rates satisfying the same constraints. It is then useful to r...
In their 2008 and 2009 papers, Sumner and colleagues introduced the "squangles" - a small set of Markov invariants for phylogenetic quartets. The squangles are consistent with the general Markov model (GM) and can be used to infer quartets without the need to explicitly estimate all parameters. As GM is inhomogeneous and hence non-stationary, the squangles are expected to perform well compared to standard approaches when there are changes in base-composition amongst species. However, GM inclu...
When the process underlying DNA substitutions varies across evolutionary history, some standard Markov models underlying phylogenetic methods are mathematically inconsistent. The most prominent example is the general time-reversible model (GTR) together with some, but not all, of its submodels. To rectify this deficiency, nonhomogeneous Lie Markov models have been identified as the class of models that are consistent in the face of a changing process of DNA substitutions regardless of taxon s...
We investigate distances on binary (presence/absence) data in the context of a Dollo process, where a trait can only arise once on a phylogenetic tree but may be lost many times. We introduce a novel distance, the Additive Dollo Distance (ADD), which is consistent for data generated under a Dollo model, and show that it has some useful theoretical properties including an intriguing link to the LogDet distance. Simulations of Dollo data are used to compare a number of binary distances includin...
Background Hadamard conjugation is part of the standard mathematical armoury in the analysis of molecular phylogenetic methods. For group-based models, the approach provides a one-to-one correspondence between the so-called “edge length” and “sequence” spectrum on a phylogenetic tree. The Hadamard conjugation has been used in diverse phylogenetic applications not only for inference but also as an important conceptual tool for thinking about molecular data leading to generalizations beyond str...
Though algebraic geometry over $\mathbb C$ is often used to describe the closure of the tensors of a given size and complex rank, this variety includes tensors of both smaller and larger rank. Here we focus on the $n\times n\times n$ tensors of rank $n$ over $\mathbb C$, which has as a dense subset the orbit of a single tensor under a natural group action. We construct polynomial invariants under this group action whose non-vanishing distinguishes this orbit from points only in its closure. T...
We give a non-technical introduction to convergence-divergence models, a new modeling approach for phylogenetic data that allows for the usual divergence of species post speciation but also allows for species to converge, i.e. become more similar over time. By examining the $3$-taxon case in some detail we illustrate that phylogeneticists have been "spoiled" in the sense of not having to think about the structural parameters in their models by virtue of the strong assumption that evolution is...
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