Simon Ho School of Biological Sciences The University of Sydney Location: Carslaw 273 Time: 2pm Friday, April 27, 2012 Title: Estimating evolutionary timescales using DNA Abstract: The estimation of evolutionary time-scales is pivotal to a wide range of biological studies. It allows us to place our analyses and interpretations into a temporal context, and provides us with insights into rates of speciation, population divergence, and other evolutionary processes. Despite the apparent simplicity of the molecular clock, estimating evolutionary time-scales from DNA is not a trivial exercise. A wide range of problems can affect the estimation process, including calibration errors and rate variation among lineages. Over the past decade, there have been numerous developments in this field, allowing the molecular evolutionary process to be modelled with increasing sophistication. In addition, there are now various ways of using information from the fossil record to calibrate the molecular clock. In this talk, I will provide a brief overview of the current state of the field.