Gene tree discordance, phylogenetic inference and the multispecies coalescent

Trends Ecol Evol. 2009 Jun;24(6):332-40. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2009.01.009. Epub 2009 Mar 21.


The field of phylogenetics is entering a new era in which trees of historical relationships between species are increasingly inferred from multilocus and genomic data. A major challenge for incorporating such large amounts of data into inference of species trees is that conflicting genealogical histories often exist in different genes throughout the genome. Recent advances in genealogical modeling suggest that resolving close species relationships is not quite as simple as applying more data to the problem. Here we discuss the complexities of genealogical discordance and review the issues that new methods for multilocus species tree inference will need to address to account successfully for naturally occurring genomic variability in evolutionary histories.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Genetic Speciation
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Models, Biological
  • Phylogeny*