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, 57 (2), 294-310

Multilocus Phylogenetics of a Rapid Radiation in the Genus Thomomys (Rodentia: Geomyidae)


Multilocus Phylogenetics of a Rapid Radiation in the Genus Thomomys (Rodentia: Geomyidae)

Natalia M Belfiore et al. Syst Biol.

Erratum in

  • Syst Biol. 2008 Jun;57(3):518


Species complexes undergoing rapid radiation present a challenge in molecular systematics because of the possibility that ancestral polymorphism is retained in component gene trees. Coalescent theory has demonstrated that gene trees often fail to match lineage trees when taxon divergence times are less than the ancestral effective population sizes. Suggestions to increase the number of loci and the number of individuals per taxon have been proposed; however, phylogenetic methods to adequately analyze these data in a coalescent framework are scarce. We compare two approaches to estimating lineage (species) trees using multiple individuals and multiple loci: the commonly used partitioned Bayesian analysis of concatenated sequences and a modification of a newly developed hierarchical Bayesian method (BEST) that simultaneously estimates gene trees and species trees from multilocus data. We test these approaches on a phylogeny of rapidly radiating species wherein divergence times are likely to be smaller than effective population sizes, and incomplete lineage sorting is known, in the rodent genus, Thomomys. We use seven independent noncoding nuclear sequence loci (total approximately 4300 bp) and between 1 and 12 individuals per taxon to construct a phylogenetic hypothesis for eight Thomomys species. The majority-rule consensus tree from the partitioned concatenated analysis included 14 strongly supported bipartitions, corroborating monophyletic species status of five of the eight named species. The BEST tree strongly supported only the split between the two subgenera and showed very low support for any other clade. Comparison of both lineage trees to individual gene trees revealed that the concatenation method appears to ignore conflicting signals among gene trees, whereas the BEST tree considers conflicting signals and downweights support for those nodes. Bayes factor analysis of posterior tree distributions from both analyses strongly favor the model underlying the BEST analysis. This comparison underscores the risks of overreliance on results from concatenation, and ignoring the properties of coalescence, especially in cases of recent, rapid radiations.

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