Incomplete lineage sorting is common in extant gibbon genera

PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e53682. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0053682. Epub 2013 Jan 14.


We sequenced reduced representation libraries by means of Illumina technology to generate over 1.5 Mb of orthologous sequence from a representative of each of the four extant gibbon genera (Nomascus, Hylobates, Symphalangus, and Hoolock). We used these data to assess the evolutionary relationships between the genera by evaluating the likelihoods of all possible bifurcating trees involving the four taxa. Our analyses provide weak support for a tree with Nomascus and Hylobates as sister taxa and with Hoolock and Symphalangus as sister taxa, though bootstrap resampling suggests that other phylogenetic scenarios are also possible. This uncertainty is due to short internal branch lengths and extensive incomplete lineage sorting across taxa. The true phylogenetic relationships among gibbon genera will likely require a more extensive whole-genome sequence analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Extinction, Biological
  • Female
  • Genomics
  • Humans
  • Hylobates / genetics*
  • Male
  • Pan troglodytes / genetics
  • Phylogeny*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Species Specificity