Reconciling gene family evolution and species evolution

Detta är en avhandling från Stockholm : Numerical Analysis and Computer Science (NADA), Stockholm University

Sammanfattning: Species evolution can often be adequately described with a phylogenetic tree. Interestingly, this is the case also for the evolution of homologous genes; a gene in an ancestral species may – through gene duplication, gene loss, lateral gene transfer (LGT), and speciation events – give rise to a gene family distributed across contemporaneous species. However, molecular sequence evolution and genetic recombination make the history – the gene tree – non-trivial to reconstruct from present-day sequences. This history is of biological interest, e.g., for inferring potential functional equivalences of extant gene pairs.In this thesis, we present biologically sound probabilistic models for gene family evolution guided by species evolution – effectively yielding a gene-species tree reconciliation. Using Bayesian Markov-chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) inference techniques, we show that by taking advantage of the information provided by the species tree, our methods achieve more reliable gene tree estimates than traditional species tree-uninformed approaches.Specifically, we describe a comprehensive model that accounts for gene duplication, gene loss, a relaxed molecular clock, and sequence evolution, and we show that the method performs admirably on synthetic and biological data. Further-more, we present two expansions of the inference procedure, enabling it to pro-vide (i) refined gene tree estimates with timed duplications, and (ii) probabilistic orthology estimates – i.e., that the origin of a pair of extant genes is a speciation.Finally, we present a substantial development of the model to account also for LGT. A sophisticated algorithmic framework of dynamic programming and numerical methods for differential equations is used to resolve the computational hurdles that LGT brings about. We apply the method on two bacterial datasets where LGT is believed to be prominent, in order to estimate genome-wide LGT and duplication rates. We further show that traditional methods – in which gene trees are reconstructed and reconciled with the species tree in separate stages – are prone to yield inferior gene tree estimates that will overestimate the number of LGT events.