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Chromosome number is a remarkably dynamic feature of eukaryotic evolution. Chromosome numbers can change by a duplication of the whole genome (a process termed polyploidy), or by single chromosome changes (ascending dysploidy via, e.g., chromosome fission or descending dysploidy via, e.g., chromosome fusion).
Of the various mechanisms of chromosome number change, polyploidy has received significant attention because of the impact such an event may have on the organism.
ChromEvol implements a series of likelihood models for the evolution of chromosome numbers. By comparing the fit of the different models to biological data, it may be possible to gain insight regarding the pathways by which the evolution of chromosome number proceeds. For each model, the program estimates the rates for the possible transitions assumed by the model, infers the set of ancestral chromosome numbers, and estimates the location along the tree for which polyploidy events (and other chromosome number changes) occurred. For further methodological details, see the publications and manual on the Downloads page.