In conjunction with the interdisciplinary activities of the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS), a seminar series on topics in mathematical biology will be hosted at NIMBioS every other Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. (unless otherwise noted) in the NIMBioS Lecture Hall on the 4th floor of 1534 White Ave., Suite 400. Seminar speakers will focus on their research initiatives at the interface of mathematics and many areas of the life sciences. Light refreshments will be served beginning 30 minutes before each talk.
Time/Date: Tuesday, November 8, 2011, 3:30 p.m.*
Location: Room 403, Blount Hall, 1534 White Ave., Suite 400
Speaker: Dr. Juanjuan "JJ" Chai, NIMBioS Postdoctoral Fellow
Topic: On the number of binary characters needed to recover a phylogeny using maximum parsimony
Abstract: In phylogenetics it is known that for a given set of characters, under maximum parsimony, there could be more than one phylogeny with the most parsimonious score. In a special case where each character changes its state only once, the most parsimonious tree is unique. This case is called homoplasy-free, and the number of characters required is on the same order of the number of taxa in the phylogeny. Steel and Penny conjectured that given C*logN binary characters, one can recover the unique maximum parsimonious tree with N taxa. We give an explicit construction to show that this is true. Biologically, this means that some patterns of homoplasy are phylogenetically informative and can exponentially reduce the amount of data needed to resolve a phylogeny.
*Join us for refreshments in the NIMBioS Lobby on the 4th floor at 3 p.m.
Seminar Flyer (pdf)