HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
For inferring the biological tree of life, simple is better

EUGENE, Ore. - A study published in the Oct. 21 Nature shows that the most widely used method for constructing the tree of life from DNA sequences is prone to error. However, a simpler method, largely abandoned in recent years, turns out to be far more accurate.

These surprising findings may change the way evolutionary biologists infer the relationships among species - a cornerstone of modern biology - according to researchers at the University of Oregon.

Joe Thornton, a UO assistant professor of biology, and Bryan Kolaczkowski, a graduate student in computer and information science, used a small supercomputer to simulate the evolution of thousands of gene sequences on a hypothetical evolutionary tree. They examined which methods for inferring historical relationships correctly recovered that tree from the simulated data.

They found that a simple logical method known as maximum parsimony is far more accurate under a wide range of conditions than the state-of-the-art technique known as maximum likelihood, which uses a mathematic model of the evolutionary process.

"It turns out that the complicated method performs well when reality is simple, but the simpler method is much more accurate when reality is complex," Thornton said.

During the past decade, maximum likelihood has eclipsed maximum parsimony as a tool for evolutionary biologists, largely because of studies that found it to be a more accurate and powerful tool.

Thornton and Kolaczkowski were not convinced by these studies, which simulated evolution using a simplistic and unrealistic process in which the various parts of a gene evolve at the same rate in all species. So they evaluated, for the first time, the performance of the methods when the evolutionary process changes over time, as it is known to do.

"Maximum likelihood often gets the wrong tree because it assumes evolution can be accurately captured in a statistical model, but the assumptions
'"/>

Contact: Melody Ward Leslie
mleslie@uoregon.edu
541-346-2060
University of Oregon
20-Oct-2004


Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Semiconductor membrane mimics biological behavior of ion channels
2. In search of the biological significance of modular structures in protein networks
3. A rainbow of methods promises insights into biological processes and diseases
4. AIBS honors outstanding contributions to the biological sciences
5. Researchers figure out what makes a simple biological clock tick
6. Antarctic marine explorers reveal first biological changes after collapse of polar ice shelves
7. Researchers publish first working model that explains how biological clocks work
8. Pitt professor contends biological underpinnings
9. Animal studies in the land of the midnight sun illuminate biological clocks
10. Breakthrough in nanodevice synthesis revolutionizes biological sensors
11. Whiteflies and plant viruses can help each other to speed up biological invasion

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


(Date:5/6/2017)... RAM Group , Singaporean based ... in biometric authentication based on a novel  ... to perform biometric authentication. These new sensors are based on ... Ram Group and its partners. This sensor will have ... and security. Ram Group is a next generation ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... ALBANY, New York , April 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... highly competitive, as its vendor landscape is marked by ... in the market is however held by five major ... and Safran. Together these companies accounted for nearly 61% ... majority of the leading companies in the global military ...
(Date:4/17/2017)... Florida , April 17, 2017 NXT-ID, ... technology company, announces the filing of its 2016 Annual Report on ... and Exchange Commission. ... on Form 10-K is available in the Investor Relations section of ... as on the SEC,s website at http://www.sec.gov . ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... ... Dr. Bob Harman, founder and CEO of VetStem Biopharma, Inc. spent ... entitled “Stem Cells and Their Regenerative Powers,” was held on August 31st, 2017 ... joined by two human doctors: Peter B. Hanson, M.D., Chief of Orthopedic Surgery, Grossmont ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... The Pittcon Program Committee ... honoring scientists who have made outstanding contributions to analytical chemistry and applied ... the world’s leading conference and exposition for laboratory science, which will be held ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... The ... medical marijuana products targeting the needs of consumers who are incorporating medical marijuana ... place in Phoenix, Arizona. , As operators of two successful Valley dispensaries, The ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... , Oct. 6, 2017  The 2017 ... of three scientists, Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank ... developments in cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) have ... within the structural biology community. The winners worked ... can now routinely produce highly resolved, three-dimensional images ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: