Mar 29, 2020

When species trees disagree: an approach consistent with the coalescent that quantifies phylogenomic support for contentious relationships

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Richard GJ HodelL. L. Knowles


Phylogenies inferred using both concatenation- and coalescent-based analyses typically render highly congruent trees. However, when they disagree, they often differ with respect to historically contentious and evolutionarily important relationships. These relationships may also involve etiolated lineages where increased sampling is not possible. Recently, methods aimed at interrogating single relationships or trees have emerged as promising investigative tools to examine these cases. Although recent methods such as "Edge-based Phylogenomic Support analYsis" (EPSY) led to insights into both systematic error and real biological signal, whether they are consistent with the coalescent in cases with high Incomplete Lineage Sorting (ILS) has yet to be characterized. Here, we use simulations and an empirical dataset to test the performance of EPSY, concatenation, and coalescent-based summary analyses under high levels of ILS. We focused on high-ILS scenarios because these represent the typical difficult cases that researchers often face due to the prevalence of ILS in phylogenomic datasets. ILS is known to be a major cause of phylogenomic conflict, which confounds many biological conclusions that depend on a resolved phylogeny, such a...Continue Reading

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