Phylogenetic inference is making a best estimate of the evolutionary history of a group of organisms based on the inheritance of ancestral characteristics. Until 50 years ago the study of evolution was carried out by studying differences in morphological characteristics between organisms, but now this science has become dominated (although not exclusively) by sequence data. Molecular phylogenetics converts the information in sequences into an evolutionary tree based on the similarities and/or differences between those sequences. Thus the more similar sequences are the closer they appear within a tree.
Phylogenetic trees obviously allow us to discover the evolutionary relationships among groups of organisms. However, trees are now recognized and are being used as a tool towards understanding biological processes. For example, conclusions may be drawn about the functions of a particular protein from its “relatedness” to other proteins of known function.
Hosted jointly by the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI), University of Pretoria and Inqaba Biotechnical Industries (Pty) Ltd.
The aim of this introductory workshop is to give a basic understanding of various phylogenetic techniques and to cover the steps required from checking a sequence to constructing a tree. It does not aim to cover absolutely everything there is “to know” or every piece of phylogenetic software ever written. The format is a mixture of presentations, exercises and discussions plus, tea, coffee and a light lunch.
Several topics will be covered and includes:
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