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Title: Vertebrate phylogenomics and gene family evolution
Author: Cotton, James A.
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2003
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This thesis is about 2 topics; the evolution of gene families by the birth-death process of gene duplication and gene loss, and phylogenetic inference. It is a central theme that these two processes are intimately associated - the phylogenies of gene families (of any gene) are shaped by the processes of gene duplication and gene loss, as much as by the processes of speciation and extinction occurring among the species the gene is evolving in. This has two results. Firstly, that we need to know, or assume, something about the processes of gene duplication and loss to correctly understand the pattern of speciation, or cladogenesis, in a group of organisms. Secondly, that we need to know, or assume, something about this pattern if we are to fully appreciate the effect of gene duplication and loss on a gene family phylogeny. The main part of this thesis investigates the use of reconciled tree methods in unravelling species phylogeny and the evolution of gene families. Part of this investigation involves placing reconciled tree methods (and the use of these methods to infer species phylogeny, known as gene tree parsimony), in the context of some related methods: supertree methods and "simultaneous analysis" of combined data. Two empirical studies complete this part of the thesis - one attempting to infer the higher-level phylogeny of vertebrates using gene tree parsimony, and another focusing on a lower taxonomic level, on primate phylogeny. This chapter attempts an integrated study of gene duplication and species phylogeny, which uses information about gene duplication to help date evolutionary events. Despite the close relationship between gene duplication and speciation on phylogenies, it is possible to study gene duplication independently. If we restrict ourselves to genes sampled from a single genome, gene family trees represent gene duplications and gene losses occurring during the history of a single species, so the complication of speciation and extinction is eliminated. By realising that the processes of gene duplication and loss in these trees are analogous to the processes of speciation and extinction in species phylogenies, we can harness a toolkit of methods developed for more traditional phylogenies to study these molecular processes. Two such methods are models of cladistic tree shape and birth-death models, which allow the first estimates of the rate of gene loss.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Genetics