Brendan D. O'Fallon

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Coalescent theory provides an elegant and powerful method for understanding the shape of gene genealogies and resulting patterns of genetic diversity. However, the coalescent does not naturally accommodate the effects of heritable variation in fitness. Although some methods are available for studying the effects of strong selection (Ns >> 1), few tools(More)
Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT), the most common inherited vascular disorder, is caused by mutations in genes involved in the transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) signaling pathway (ENG, ACVRL1, and SMAD4). Yet, approximately 15% of individuals with clinical features of HHT do not have mutations in these genes, suggesting that there are(More)
MOTIVATION Accurate determination of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from next-generation sequencing data is a significant challenge facing bioinformatics researchers. Most current methods use mechanistic models that assume nucleotides aligning to a given reference position are sampled from a binomial distribution. While such methods are sensitive,(More)
The genetic and demographic impact of European contact with Native Americans has remained unclear despite recent interest. Whereas archeological and historical records indicate that European contact resulted in widespread mortality from various sources, genetic studies have found little evidence of a recent contraction in Native American population size. In(More)
Many obligately intracellular symbionts exhibit a characteristic set of genetic changes that include an increase in substitution rates, loss of many genes, and apparent destabilization of many proteins and structural RNAs. Authors have suggested that these changes are due to increased mutation rates, or, more commonly, decreased effective population size(More)
Since the advent of next-generation sequencing many previously untestable hypotheses have been realized. Next-generation sequencing has been used for a wide range of studies in diverse fields such as population and medical genetics, phylogenetics, microbiology, and others. However, this novel technology has created unanticipated challenges such as the large(More)
Most models of quasi-species evolution predict that populations will evolve to occupy areas of sequence space with the greatest concentration of neutral sequences, thus minimizing the deleterious mutation rate and creating mutationally 'robust' genomes. In contrast, empirical studies of the principal model of quasi-species evolution, RNA viruses, suggest(More)
Accurate reconstruction of the divergence times among individuals is an essential step toward inferring population parameters from genetic data. However, our ability to reconstruct accurate genealogies is often thwarted by the evolutionary forces we hope to detect, most prominently natural selection. Here, I demonstrate that purifying selection acting at(More)
Pathogen species with high mutation rates are likely to accumulate deleterious mutations that reduce their reproductive potential within the host. By altering the within-host growth rate of the pathogen, the deleterious mutation load has the potential to affect epidemiological properties such as prevalence, mean pathogen load, and the mean duration of(More)
The serial coalescent extends traditional coalescent theory to include genealogies in which not all individuals were sampled at the same time. Inference in this framework is powerful because population size and evolutionary rate may be estimated independently. However, when the sequences in question are affected by selection acting at many sites, the(More)