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Evolutionary GeneticsConcepts, Analysis, and Practice$
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Glenn-Peter Sætre and Mark Ravinet

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198830917

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198830917.001.0001

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Reconstructing the past

Reconstructing the past

(p.214) Chapter 9 Reconstructing the past
Evolutionary Genetics

Glenn-Peter Sætre

Mark Ravinet

Oxford University Press

How can genetics and genomics be used to understand the evolutionary history of organisms? This chapter focuses on such methods. First, the field of phylogenetics is introduced, as a way to visualize and quantify the evolutionary relationships among species. The chapter outlines how we go from aligning DNA sequence data to building gene trees and we argue that “tree-thinking” is fundamentally important for understanding evolution. The chapter also goes beyond phylogenetic trees to focus on phylogeography, i.e. the understanding of evolutionary relationships in a spatial context. More recently, the explosion of genomic data from ancient and modern human populations has made this an extremely exciting field which is transforming our understanding of our own evolutionary history. Before that, though, the chapter reviews how modern phylogenetics has arisen from historical efforts to classify life on Earth.

Keywords:   phylogeny, tree of life, parsimony, maximum likelihood, Bayesian inference, coalescent theory, phylogeography, biogeography, ancient DNA, ABBA BABA

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