Mar 27, 2002

Adaptive constraints and the phylogenetic comparative method: a computer simulation test

Evolution; International Journal of Organic Evolution
Emília P MartinsElizabeth A Housworth

Abstract

Recently, the utility of modern phylogenetic comparative methods (PCMs) has been questioned because of the seemingly restrictive assumptions required by these methods. Although most comparative analyses involve traits thought to be undergoing natural or sexual selection, most PCMs require an assumption that the traits be evolving by less directed random processes, such as Brownian motion (BM). In this study, we use computer simulation to generate data under more realistic evolutionary scenarios and consider the statistical abilities of a variety of PCMs to estimate correlation coefficients from these data. We found that correlations estimated without taking phylogeny into account were often quite poor and never substantially better than those produced by the other tested methods. In contrast, most PCMs performed quite well even when their assumptions were violated. Felsenstein's independent contrasts (FIC) method gave the best performance in many cases, even when weak constraints had been acting throughout phenotypic evolution. When strong constraints acted in opposition to variance-generating (i.e., BM) forces, however, FIC correlation coefficients were biased in the direction of those BM forces. In most cases, all other PCMs ...Continue Reading

  • References8
  • Citations76

References

  • References8
  • Citations76

Citations

Mentioned in this Paper

In Silico
Extravasation of Diagnostic and Therapeutic Materials
Protein-Energy Malnutrition
Phylogeny
Silo (Dataset)
EAF2 gene
Adaptation, Physiological

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