Robustness Evaluation for Phylogenetic Reconstruction methods and Evolutionary Models Reconstruction of Tumor Progression

Thursday, April 6, 2017 - 2:40pm to 4:00pm
3A75, Swearingen

DISSERTATION DEFENSE
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
University of South Carolina

Author : Jun Zhou

Advisor: Jijun Tang

Date : April 6th

Time: 2:40 – 4:00 pm

Place : 3A75, Swearingen

Abstract

Over millions of year of evolutionary history, the order and content of the genomes got changed by rearrangements, duplications and losses. There is always a consistent passion to find out what happened and what can happen in the evolutionary process. Due to the great development of various technology, the information about genomes is exponentially increasing, which make it possible figure the problem out. The problem has been shown so interesting that a great number of algorithms have been developed rigorously over the past decades in attempts to tackle these problems following different kind of principles. However, difficulties and limits in performance and capacity, and also low consistency largely prevent us from confidently statement that the problem is solved. To know the detailed evolutionary history, we need to infer the phylogeny of the evolutionary history (Big Phylogeny Problem) and also infer the internal nodes information (Small Phylogeny Problem). The work presented in this thesis focuses on assessing methods designed for attacking Small Phylogeny Problem and algorithms and models design for genome evolution history inference from FISH data for cancer data.

During the recent decades, a number of evolutionary models and related algorithms have been designed to infer ancestral genome sequences or gene orders. Due to the difficulty of knowing the true scenario of the ancestral genomes, there must be some tools used to test the robustness of the adjacencies found by various methods. When it comes to methods for Big Phylogeny Problem, to test the confidence rate of the inferred branches, previous work has tested bootstrapping, jackknifing, and isolating and found them good resampling tools to corresponding phylogenetic inference methods. However, till now there is still no system work done to try and tackle this problem for small phylogeny. We tested the earlier resampling schemes and a new method inversion on different ancestral genome reconstruction methods and showed different resampling methods are appropriate for their corresponding methods.

Cancer is famous for its heterogeneity, which is developed by an evolutionary process driven by mutations in tumor cells. Rapid, simultaneous linear and branching evolution has been observed and analyzed by earlier research. Such process can be modeled by a phylogenetic tree using different methods. Previous phylogenetic research used various kinds of dataset, such as FISH data, genome sequence, and gene order. FISH data is quite clean for the reason that it comes from single cells and shown to be enough to infer evolutionary process for cancer development. RSMT was shown to be a good model for phylogenetic analysis by using FISH cell count pattern data, but it need efficient heuristics because it is a NP-hard problem. To attack this problem, we proposed an iterative approach to approximate solutions to the steiner tree in the small phylogeny tree. It is shown to give better results comparing to earlier method on both real and simulation data.

In this thesis, we continued the investigation on designing new method to better approximate evolutionary process of tumor and applying our method to other kinds of data such as information using high-throughput technology. Our thesis work can be divided into two parts. First, we designed new algorithms which can give the same parsimony tree as exact method in most situation and modified it to be a general phylogeny building tool. Second, we applied our methods to different kinds data such as copy number variation information inferred form next generation sequencing technology and predict key changes during evolution.