Models and algorithms to study the common evolutionary history of hosts and symbionts

Abstract : In this Ph.D. work, we proposed models and algorithms to study the common evolutionary history of hosts and symbionts. The first goal was to analyse the robustness of the methods of phylogenetic tree reconciliations, which are a common way of performing such study. This involves mapping one tree, most often the symbiont’s, to the other using a so-called event-based model. The events considered in general are cospeciation, duplication, host switch, and loss. The host and the symbiont phylogenies are usually considered as given and without any errors. The objective here was to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the parsimonious model used in such mappings of one tree to another, and how the final results may be influenced when small errors are present, or are introduced in the input datasets. This may correspond either to a wrong choice of present-day symbiont-host associations in the case where multiple ones exist, or to small errors related to a wrong rooting of the symbiont tree. Our results show that the choice of leaf associations and of root placement may have a strong impact on the variability of the reconciliation output. We also noticed that the host switch event has an important role in particular for the rooting problem. The second goal of this Ph.D. was to introduce some events that are little or not formally considered in the literature. One of them is the spread, which corresponds to the invasion of different hosts by a same symbiont. In this case, as when spreads are not considered, the optimal reconciliations obtained will depend on the choice made for the costs of the events. The need to develop statistical methods to assign the most appropriate ones therefore remains of actuality. Two types of spread are introduced: vertical and horizontal. The first case corresponds to what could be called also a freeze in the sense that the evolution of the symbiont “freezes” while the symbiont continues to be associated with a host and with the new species that descend from this host. The second includes both an invasion, of the symbiont which remains with the initial host but at the same time gets associated with (“invades”) another one incomparable with the first, and a freeze, actually a double freeze as the evolution of the symbiont “freezes” in relation to the evolution of the host to which it was initially associated and in relation to the evolution of the second one it “invaded”. Our results show that the introduction of these events makes the model more realistic, but also that it is now possible to directly use datasets with a symbiont that is associated with more than one host at the same time, which was not feasible before
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Laura Urbini. Models and algorithms to study the common evolutionary history of hosts and symbionts. Bioinformatics [q-bio.QM]. Université de Lyon, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017LYSE1214⟩. ⟨tel-01673445v2⟩

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