HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Ancient math refines theories of evolution

Evolutionary biologists are used to digging into the past--but rarely in a quest to unearth equations. One group of scientists, however, has dusted off a 200-year-old formula to help reconcile discrepancies that crop up among DNA studies designed to sort out how species are related to one another. In the June 30 issue of Science, John Huelsenbeck, assistant professor of biology at the University of Rochester and his colleagues show how 18th century math can help biologists grapple with the flood of DNA sequences coming from genome sequencing projects. His colleagues are Bruce Rannala, assistant professor of medical genetics at the University of Alberta, and graduate student John Masly of the University of Rochester.

"This method is a revolutionary approach to addressing questions concerning the evolution of important traits," says Paul Lewis, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Connecticut and an expert at inferring evolutionary trees from DNA sequences. "This means that determining an evolutionary tree will be less biased by one particular estimate. The investigators of this study continue to be pioneers in this field."

The mathematician to whom Huelsenbeck, Rannala, and Masly have turned is Thomas Bayes, a British Presbyterian minister who devised a formula to account for uncertainties in data--uncertainties such as when one method suggests chimps are more like humans than orangutans, while another says the exact opposite. Bayes' formula allows informed guesses to be combined with new data. As the scientist collects more data, the initial guess carries less weight, and so the most accurate answer, such as which evolutionary family tree correctly depicts how birds split from reptiles, gradually takes shape. Currently, scientists are forced to treat evolutionary trees as ironclad truth, even though the results from different studies often disagree with one another. Bayesian mathematics accommodates uncertainty about the evo
'"/>

Contact: Jonathan Sherwood
jsherwood@admin.rochester.edu
716-273-4726
University of Rochester
28-Jun-2000


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Ancient life form may help create newest technologies
2. Ancient brewery discovered on mountaintop in Peru
3. Ancient Greeks help scientists build environmentally friendly nano devices
4. Ancient DNA mutations permitted humans to adapt to colder climates, UCI researchers find
5. Ancient Inca road in desperate need of protection
6. Ancient DNA analysis unveils mystery of historys most horribly deformed man -- The Elephant Man
7. Ancient pollen yields insight into forest biodiversity
8. Ancient defense mechanism may still be protecting us
9. Ancient flower fossil points to underwater origins
10. Ancient supernova may have triggered eco-catastrophe
11. Ancient Chinese folk remedy may hold key to non-toxic cancer treatment

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/19/2017)... 2017 The global military biometrics ... marked by the presence of several large global players. ... five major players - 3M Cogent, NEC Corporation, M2SYS ... nearly 61% of the global military biometric market in ... global military biometrics market boast global presence, which has ...
(Date:4/17/2017)... MELBOURNE, Florida , April 17, 2017 ... security technology company, announces the filing of its 2016 Annual Report ... Securities and Exchange Commission. ... Report on Form 10-K is available in the Investor Relations section ... well as on the SEC,s website at http://www.sec.gov . ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... According to a new market research report "Consumer IAM Market by ... Service, Authentication Type, Deployment Mode, Vertical, and Region - Global Forecast to ... USD 14.30 Billion in 2017 to USD 31.75 Billion by 2022, at ... ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... representations of a complex biological network, a depiction of a system of linkages ... said Dmitry Korkin, PhD, associate professor of computer science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... AMRI, a global contract ... to improve patient outcomes and quality of life, will now be offering its ... attributed to new regulatory requirements for all new drug products, including the finalization ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... 2017 , ... ComplianceOnline’s Medical Device Summit is back for its 4th year. ... San Francisco, CA. The Summit brings together current and former FDA office bearers, regulators, ... government officials from around the world to address key issues in device compliance, quality ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... A new study published ... frozen and fresh in vitro fertilization (IVF) transfer cycles. The multi-center ... success. , After comparing the results from the fresh and frozen transfer cohorts, ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: