Oct 2, 2012

Comparing evolutionary rates for different phenotypic traits on a phylogeny using likelihood

Systematic Biology
Dean C Adams


In recent years, likelihood-based approaches have been used with increasing frequency to evaluate macroevolutionary hypotheses of phenotypic evolution under distinct evolutionary processes in a phylogenetic context (e.g., Brownian motion, Ornstein-Uhlenbeck, etc.), and to compare one or more evolutionary rates for the same phenotypic trait along a phylogeny. It is also of interest to determine whether one trait evolves at a faster rate than another trait. However, to date no study has compared phylogenetic evolutionary rates between traits using likelihood, because a formal approach has not yet been proposed. In this article, I describe a new likelihood procedure for comparing evolutionary rates for two or more phenotypic traits on a phylogeny. This approach compares the likelihood of a model where each trait evolves at a distinct evolutionary rate to the likelihood of a model where all traits are constrained to evolve at a common evolutionary rate. The method can also account for within-species measurement error and within-species trait covariation if available. Simulations revealed that the method has appropriate Type I error rates and statistical power. Importantly, when compared with existing approaches based on phylogeneti...Continue Reading

  • References48
  • Citations41


  • References48
  • Citations41


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