This blog is about the use of networks in phylogenetic analysis, as a replacement for (or an adjunct to) the usual use of trees. This topic has received considerable attention in the biological literature, not least in microbiology (where horizontal gene transfer is often considered to be rampant) and botany (where hybridization has always been considered to be common). It has also received increasing attention in the computational sciences, although the dialog between the biologists and the mathematicians is not always as clear as it should be.
Networks are acknowledged to have two main uses within
phylogenetics: (i) exploratory data analysis, in which conflicting data
patterns are visualized and their nature and quantity assessed; and (ii)
evolutionary analysis, in which the historical patterns involve not only
vertical descent (parent to offspring) but also reticulations due to horizontal
processes (such as HGT, hybridization, recombination, and genome fusion).
We are hoping that this blog will help the various groups
involved in phyloinformatics focus on a common agenda: the widespread use of
networks in phylogenetics. Blog posts might involve news, announcements, new
results, commentaries on old results, unpublished (or unpublishable) opinions,
or interesting tidbits of information that have no other home. No topic is necessarily excluded.
As always, opinions expressed in this blog are the author's own, and no other blogger necessarily agrees with any of them. We are keen to
receive responses to the blog commentaries, and to facilitate discussion of
important or interesting topics. We are hoping to have many guest posters, as well. If
you would like to contribute to the blog, regularly or even irregularly, then
please contact us.