University of Washington
Election Year: 1999
Primary Section: 27, Evolutionary Biology
Secondary Section: 32, Applied Mathematical Sciences
Membership Type: Member
I helped introduce statistical methods, such as likelihood and the bootstrap, to molecular evolution and systematics and have produced and distributed PHYLIP, a free package of computer programs for inferring phylogenies, which has more than 7,000 registered users. Lately, I have been working on methods for estimating population parameters (such as effective population size, mutation rate, and so on) from population samples of molecular sequences. Evolutionary forces, such as genetic drift, migration, recombination, and natural selection leave their imprint "gene trees" at different loci. My coworkers (Mary Kuhner, Jon Yamato, and Peter Beerli) and I have been using a computationally intensive method known as Markov Chain Monte Carlo Integration to make approximate calculations of the statistical likelihoods for different values of the population parameters and are now distributing a free package of computer programs, LAMARC, to do these calculations. We think that these methods will become the standard way of analyzing population samples of sequences.