Overcredibility of molecular phylogenies obtained by Bayesian phylogenetics.

Institute of Molecular Evolutionary Genetics and Department of Biology, Pennsylvania State University, 328 Mueller Laboratory, University Park, PA 16802, USA.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.81). 01/2003; 99(25):16138-43. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.212646199
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Bayesian phylogenetics has recently been proposed as a powerful method for inferring molecular phylogenies, and it has been reported that the mammalian and some plant phylogenies were resolved by using this method. The statistical confidence of interior branches as judged by posterior probabilities in Bayesian analysis is generally higher than that as judged by bootstrap probabilities in maximum likelihood analysis, and this difference has been interpreted as an indication that bootstrap support may be too conservative. However, it is possible that the posterior probabilities are too high or too liberal instead. Here, we show by computer simulation that posterior probabilities in Bayesian analysis can be excessively liberal when concatenated gene sequences are used, whereas bootstrap probabilities in neighbor-joining and maximum likelihood analyses are generally slightly conservative. These results indicate that bootstrap probabilities are more suitable for assessing the reliability of phylogenetic trees than posterior probabilities and that the mammalian and plant phylogenies may not have been fully resolved.

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