chapter  7
16 Pages

Tools to Construct and Study Big Trees: A Mathematical Perspective

It is forty years since the first phylogenetic trees of vertebrates were constructed from amino acid sequence data for cytochrome c

. Since then our understanding of life has undergone continual revision thanks to a stream of technical advances, the discovery of new data types (DNA sequences, SINEs, gene order, AFLPs, etc.), better computing resources, new methodology and the enthusiasm of many researchers. Today with whole genome sequences, and gene databases with many billions of base pairs, the pace set by the early pioneers seems likely to continue. In short, we are living in a golden age for molecular phylogenetics.