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Friday, June 15, 2018 - 16:15 in U10-146

The combinatorics of ‘capturing’ a phylogenetic tree from discrete characters or distances

A talk in the FSPM-Kolloquium series by
Mike Steel from Christchurch, New Zealand

Abstract: We consider two versions of the following question: What is the smallest amount of ‘data’ required to uniquely determine a phylogenetic (evolutionary) tree?In the first version, the ‘data’ consists of discrete characteristics observed at the leaves of a tree, and these characteristics are assumed to have evolved from an unknown ancestral state without homoplasy. For the second version, the data consists of leaf-to-leaf distances between certain pairs of leaves in the tree. Both questions give rise to interesting combinatorial subtleties, and lead to two recent mathematical results.


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