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Bayesian inference of ancestral recombination graphs for bacterial populations

By Timothy G Vaughan, David Welch, Alexei J Drummond, PJ Biggs, Tessy George, Nigel P French

Posted 15 Jun 2016
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/059105 (published DOI: 10.1534/genetics.116.193425)

Homologous recombination is a central feature of bacterial evolution, yet confounds traditional phylogenetic methods. While a number of methods specific to bacterial evolution have been developed, none of these permit joint inference of a bacterial recombination graph and associated parameters. In this paper, we present a new method which addresses this shortcoming. Our method uses a novel Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm to perform phylogenetic inference under the ClonalOrigin model of Didelot et al. (Genetics, 2010). We demonstrate the utility of our method by applying it to rMLST data sequenced from pathogenic and non-pathogenic Escherichia coli serotype O157 and O26 isolates collected in rural New Zealand. The method is implemented as an open source BEAST 2 package, Bacter, which is available via the project web page at http://tgvaughan.github.io/bacter.

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