MIT/WHOI Joint Program Fall 2007 Course 7.430: Topics: Coalescent Theory and the Molecular Population Genetics of Marine Organisms

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Most Recent Common Ancestor (Seminar in Coalescent Theory, Statistics Department, The Ohio State University)

Course Information

Instructor:  Sanjay Tiwari
Office:  Redfield 1-12
Class meets: Tuesdays, 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM, Redfield 2-04
First Lecture: September 25.  (PLEASE NOTE)
MIT/WHOI Joint Program Class Schedule Link

Coalescent Theory

Coalescent theory
, in Wikipedia's succint characterization, "is a retrospective model of population genetics that traces all alleles of a gene in a sample from a population to a single ancestral copy shared by all members of the population, known as the most recent common ancestor.  The inheritance relationships between alleles are typically represented as a gene genealogy, similar in form to a phylogenetic tree. This gene genealogy is also known as the coalescent; understanding the statistical properties of the coalescent under different assumptions forms the basis of coalescent theory. In the most simple case, coalescent theory assumes no recombination, no natural selection, and no gene flow or population structure. Advances in coalescent theory, however, allow extension to the basic coalescent, and can include recombination, selection, and virtually any arbitrarily complex evolutionary or demographic model in population genetic analysis. The mathematical theory of the coalescent was originally developed in the early 1980s by John Kingman[2]."


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Last updated September 17, 2007
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