Linking phylogenetics with population genetics to reconstruct the geographic origin of a species

Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2004 Sep;32(3):998-1009. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2004.03.013.


Reconstructing ancestral geographic origins is critical for understanding the long-term evolution of a species. Bayesian methods have been proposed to test biogeographic hypotheses while accommodating uncertainty in phylogenetic reconstruction. However, the problem that certain taxa may have a disproportionate influence on conclusions has not been addressed. Here, we infer the geographic origin of Drosophila simulans using 2,014 bp of the period locus from 63 lines collected from 18 countries. We also analyze two previously published datasets, alcohol dehydrogenase related and NADH:ubiquinone reductase 75 kDa subunit precursor. Phylogenetic inferences of all three loci support Madagascar as the geographic origin of D. simulans. Our phylogenetic conclusions are robust to taxon resampling and to the potentially confounding effects of recombination. To test our phylogenetically derived hypothesis we develop a randomization test of the population genetics prediction that sequences from the geographic origin should contain more genetic polymorphism than those from derived populations. We find that the Madagascar population has elevated genetic polymorphism relative to non-Madagascar sequences. These data are corroborated by mitochondrial DNA sequence data.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Demography*
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Female
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genetics, Population*
  • Geography
  • Madagascar
  • Models, Genetic
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Period Circadian Proteins
  • Phylogeny*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Species Specificity


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • PER protein, Drosophila
  • Period Circadian Proteins