Uncovering modes of evolution: testing for selection versus genetic drift in species diversification

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Background: Understanding modes of species evolution is the major questions to the current evolutionary biology. As more DNA data become available, an increasing number of researchers is now switching to phylogeny-based of complex evolutionary models. Therefore, the key challenge now is to develop and test the models which can adequately describe evolution.

Goal: The goal of this project is to develop likelihood optimization of Ornstein-Uhlenbeck process in R and then use it in phylogenetic comparative analysis to test for signal of directional/divergent selection of Amolops frogs

Mathematical tools: Statistics (stochastic models) and programming. The students will learn how to use R to implement stochastic models and develop optimization procedures of the model parameters

Biological or Medical aspects: This kind of analysis allow to estimate the most probable way of evolution, and permit to answer a lot of question like phenotypic evolution, comparative analysis between species and more other.

BM formula: File:BM formule.pdf OU formula: File:ou.script.pdf

Supervisors: Anna Kostikova & Nicolas Salamin

Students: Berto Polerà, 3rd years of bachelor in biology.



  1. A Butler, A A King 2004 "Phylogenetic comparative analysis: A modeling approach for adaptive evolution" American Naturalist: 164(6): 683-695 [M]

Back to UNIL BSc course: "Solving Biological Problems that require Math 2011"]