Event Detail

Event Type: 
Probability Seminar
Thursday, February 7, 2008 - 06:00
Kidder 364

We will talk about partial data from close to a decade's worth of data from a single location in the Sargasso Sea. Because of cost/time constraints, there is only partial information available. There are enzymes that cut the RNA at specific locations in specific finite patterns (like CCGG in the AGCT alphabet of nucleotides). We are then given estimates of the distance from an origin. Usually, one enzyme is used to estimate the percentage of certain bacteria. This experiment used three different enzymes in the hope of getting better estimates of the percentage of different organisms present, over months, depths, years. We show partial progress in solving this model in a meaningful way. There is a debate in the microbiology community as to whether the dominant method of evolution is from ancestor-derived genetic information or whether it is lateral organism-to-organism and organism-to-floating stuff. The answer is probably context and organism dependent. The difference is whether a tree model describes evolution (slow to adapt) or whether a network graph describes evolution (lots of variation and quicker to adapt). This data may show some surprising uniformity in the way that micro-organisms are constructed, giving support for the lateral method of adaptation.