Genomes, Evolution, and Mathematics

The emerging field of phylogenomics integrates two major disciplines: genomics (the study of the structure and function of genes and genomes) and phylogenetics (the study of the hierarchical evolutionary relationships among organisms and their genomes). The goal of phylogenomics is to identify the common ancestry of organisms and understand their evolution through analysis of genomes. Identifying specific sequences in the genome that appears across a range of organisms points to the likelihood that they share a common evolutionary ancestor.

The answers to some fundamental questions about the evolution of genomes and the structure of genes are predicated on progress in computation, statistics, and mathematics. Algebraic statistics (statistical models for discrete data using algebraic methods) and algorithms can be utilized for gene finding, sequence alignment, and evolutionary modeling. Probability, combinatorics, statistics, and algebraic geometry are used in the study of phylogenomics. They provide a conceptual framework for understanding and developing algorithms and mathematical models for sequence analysis.


The Mathematics of Phylogenomics
Lior Pachter & Bernd Sturmfels
SIAM Review, 49 (2007), pp 3-31
Pub date 30 Jan 2007
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