• [Note: these are the slides for the second talk described in the abstract.]

    Phylogenetics is an approach developed in evolutionary biology to reconstruct organisms’ relationships of descent based on observations of their trait similarities and differences. It finds a close analogue in textual criticism, where manuscripts correspond to organisms, variant readings correspond to inherited traits, and scribal changes correspond to mutations.

    In the first talk of this session, Zachary Ardern (postdoctoral fellow, Wellcome Sanger Institute, Cambridge) will introduce the diverse questions considered in evolutionary genetics and the usefulness of a Bayesian approach to inferring phylogenies. Bayesian phylogenetic approaches can consider many hypotheses concerning evolutionary relationships and underlying biological processes and infer their probabilities (with associated uncertainties) in relation to the observed data.

    In the second talk, Joey McCollum (PhD candidate, Australian Catholic University) will show how this approach can be fine-tuned for textual criticism. The mechanisms of Bayesian phylogenetics fit naturally into a traditional text-critical model, and familiar judgments of intrinsic and transcriptional factors in variation units can be used to inform the phylogenetic model. The second half of the talk will demonstrate how this process works in practice, using variation units in Ephesians.