The probability of topological concordance of gene trees and species trees

Theor Popul Biol. 2002 Mar;61(2):225-47. doi: 10.1006/tpbi.2001.1568.


The concordance of gene trees and species trees is reconsidered in detail, allowing for samples of arbitrary size to be taken from the species. A sense of concordance for gene tree and species tree topologies is clarified, such that if the "collapsed gene tree" produced by a gene tree has the same topology as the species tree, the gene tree is said to be topologically concordant with the species tree. The term speciodendric is introduced to refer to genes whose trees are topologically concordant with species trees. For a given three-species topology, probabilities of each of the three possible collapsed gene tree topologies are given, as are probabilities of monophyletic concordance and concordance in the sense of N. Takahata (1989), Genetics 122, 957-966. Increasing the sample size is found to increase the probability of topological concordance, but a limit exists on how much the topological concordance probability can be increased. Suggested sample sizes beyond which this probability can be increased only minimally are given. The results are discussed in terms of implications for molecular studies of phylogenetics and speciation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Evolution
  • Haploidy
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Phylogeny*
  • Population Dynamics
  • Probability*
  • Species Specificity*