Aug 31, 2013

A general species delimitation method with applications to phylogenetic placements

Jiajie ZhangAlexandros Stamatakis


Sequence-based methods to delimit species are central to DNA taxonomy, microbial community surveys and DNA metabarcoding studies. Current approaches either rely on simple sequence similarity thresholds (OTU-picking) or on complex and compute-intensive evolutionary models. The OTU-picking methods scale well on large datasets, but the results are highly sensitive to the similarity threshold. Coalescent-based species delimitation approaches often rely on Bayesian statistics and Markov Chain Monte Carlo sampling, and can therefore only be applied to small datasets. We introduce the Poisson tree processes (PTP) model to infer putative species boundaries on a given phylogenetic input tree. We also integrate PTP with our evolutionary placement algorithm (EPA-PTP) to count the number of species in phylogenetic placements. We compare our approaches with popular OTU-picking methods and the General Mixed Yule Coalescent (GMYC) model. For de novo species delimitation, the stand-alone PTP model generally outperforms GYMC as well as OTU-picking methods when evolutionary distances between species are small. PTP neither requires an ultrametric input tree nor a sequence similarity threshold as input. In the open reference species delimitation a...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Computer Programs and Programming
Sequence Determinations, DNA
Poisson Distribution

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