Much of our understanding of how evolution has operated stems from analyses of genetic differences between species. Central to these examinations are statistical models of sequence divergence. These models are used to estimate rates of evolution and to establish the influence of natural selection.
We have recently shown that nearly all models employed for these applications are systematically biased and can affect the conclusions drawn regarding how evolution has happened. One feature of our work has been application of very parameter rich models for modelling DNA sequence evolution. Using these models raises numerous challenges that are both statistical and computational.
Students would have the opportunity to interact with statisticians here at ANU and internationally.