Reading the story in DNA: the core principles of molecular phylogenetic inference

Workshop presenter Lindell Bromham 'launches' her new book, An Introduction to Molecular Evolution and Phylogenetics, into the turtle pond in the Banks Courtyard. Photo: Sharyn Wragg

The aim of this workshop is to examine the fundamental principles of phylogenetic inference.

When we hear the phrase “phylogenetic inference” we tend to focus on the first word – because what we care about is getting a phylogeny. But phylogeny inference is not a simple estimation procedure. It requires us to combine observations about the world with assumptions about the way the world works, using a set of rules for searching and evaluating alternative possible histories. And the more sophisticated the phylogenetic method, the larger the set of assumptions that we need to make about evolution and the nature of our dataset.

In this discussion-based workshop, we will consider the fundamental principles underlying a range of phylogenetic methods, from simple distance-based trees to complex Bayesian methods, but the emphasis will not be on “how to” (practical instructions) but on the  “how can we extract meaningful information from DNA?”, “what do we need to assume?" and “when do we know we have the right answer?”.

This workshop should be useful for people who use molecular phylogenetic analyses and want to think more critically and deeply about their own analyses. But it should also be suitable for people with no previous phylogenetic experience who want to know more about how molecular phylogenies are estimated and how reliable they are.

People from all academic backgrounds and levels are welcome. Registration is free.

Hosted by the Centre for Biodiversity Analysis, TEA Talks (Techniques in Evolutionary Analysis) are a monthly series of short workshops that introduce a range of current methods and analytical approaches in phylogenetics, bioinformatics and macroevolution. 

Date & time

12–2pm 4 November 2016


Sciences Teaching Building Bldg 136, Linnaeus Way, Rm S2 (top floor), ANU


Lindell Bromham, Research School of Biology, ANU

Event series


 Claire Stephens

Updated:  26 May 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director/Page Contact:  Coordinator