Branching processes for structured populations and estimators for cell division

Abstract : We study structured populations without interactions from a probabilistic and a statistical point of view. The underlying motivation of this work is the understanding of cell division mechanisms and of cell aging. We use the formalism of branching measure-valued Markov processes. In our model, each individual is characterized by a trait (age, size, etc...) which moves according to a Markov process. The rate of division of each individual is a function of its trait and when a branching event occurs, the trait of the descendants at birth depends on the trait of the mother and on the number of descendants. First, we study the trait of a uniformly sampled individual in the population. We explicitly describe the penalized Markov process, named auxiliary process, corresponding to the dynamic of the trait of a "typical" individual by giving its associated infinitesimal generator. Then, we study the asymptotic behavior of the empirical measure associated with the branching process. Under assumptions assuring the ergodicity of the auxiliary process, we prove that the auxiliary process asymptotically corresponds to the trait along its ancestral lineage of a uniformly sampled individual in the population. Finally, we address the problem of parameter estimation in the case of a branching process structured by a diffusion. We consider data composed of the trait at birth of all individuals in the population until a given generation. We give kernel estimators for the transition density and the invariant measure of the chain corresponding to the trait of an individual along a lineage. Moreover, in the case of a reflected diffusion on a compact set, we use maximum likelihood estimation to reconstruct the division rate. We prove consistency and asymptotic normality for this estimator. We also carry out the numerical implementation of the estimator.
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Aline Marguet. Branching processes for structured populations and estimators for cell division. Probability [math.PR]. Université Paris-Saclay, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017SACLX073⟩. ⟨tel-01686752⟩

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