Toward resolving deep neoaves phylogeny: data, signal enhancement, and priors.
ABSTRACT We report three developments toward resolving the challenge of the apparent basal polytomy of neoavian birds. First, we describe improved conditional down-weighting techniques to reduce noise relative to signal for deeper divergences and find increased agreement between data sets. Second, we present formulae for calculating the probabilities of finding predefined groupings in the optimal tree. Finally, we report a significant increase in data: nine new mitochondrial (mt) genomes (the dollarbird, New Zealand kingfisher, great potoo, Australian owlet-nightjar, white-tailed trogon, barn owl, a roadrunner [a ground cuckoo], New Zealand long-tailed cuckoo, and the peach-faced lovebird) and together they provide data for each of the six main groups of Neoaves proposed by Cracraft J (2001). We use his six main groups of modern birds as priors for evaluation of results. These include passerines, cuckoos, parrots, and three other groups termed "WoodKing" (woodpeckers/rollers/kingfishers), "SCA" (owls/potoos/owlet-nightjars/hummingbirds/swifts), and "Conglomerati." In general, the support is highly significant with just two exceptions, the owls move from the "SCA" group to the raptors, particularly accipitrids (buzzards/eagles) and the osprey, and the shorebirds may be an independent group from the rest of the "Conglomerati". Molecular dating mt genomes support a major diversification of at least 12 neoavian lineages in the Late Cretaceous. Our results form a basis for further testing with both nuclear-coding sequences and rare genomic changes.
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ABSTRACT: The program MODELTEST uses log likelihood scores to establish the model of DNA evolution that best fits the data. AVAILABILITY: The MODELTEST package, including the source code and some documentation is available at http://bioag.byu. edu/zoology/crandall_lab/modeltest.html.Bioinformatics 02/1998; 14(9):817-8. · 5.32 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Sequence data often have competing signals that are detected by network programs or Lento plots. Such data can be formed by generating sequences on more than one tree, and combining the results, a mixture model. We report that with such mixture models, the estimates of edge (branch) lengths from maximum likelihood (ML) methods that assume a single tree are biased. Based on the observed number of competing signals in real data, such a bias of ML is expected to occur frequently. Because network methods can recover competing signals more accurately, there is a need for ML methods allowing a network. A fundamental problem is that mixture models can have more parameters than can be recovered from the data, so that some mixtures are not, in principle, identifiable. We recommend that network programs be incorporated into best practice analysis, along with ML and Bayesian trees.Molecular Biology and Evolution 03/2008; 25(2):239-42. · 10.35 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial genomes of all vertebrate animals analyzed to date have the same 37 genes, whose arrangement in the circular DNA molecule varies only in the relative position of a few genes. This relative conservation suggests that mitochondrial gene order characters have potential utility as phylogenetic markers for higher-level vertebrate taxa. We report discovery of a mitochondrial gene order that has had multiple independent originations within birds, based on sampling of 137 species representing 13 traditionally recognized orders. This provides evidence of parallel evolution in mitochondrial gene order for animals. Our results indicate operation of physical constraints on mitochondrial gene order changes and support models for gene order change based on replication error. Bird mitochondria have a displaced OL (origin of light-strand replication site) as do various other Reptilia taxa prone to gene order changes. Our findings point to the need for broad taxonomic sampling in using mitochondrial gene order for phylogenetic analyses. We found, however, that the alternative mitochondrial gene orders distinguish the two primary groups of songbirds (order Passeriformes), oscines and suboscines, in agreement with other molecular as well as morphological data sets. Thus, although mitochondrial gene order characters appear susceptible to some parallel evolution because of mechanistic constraints, they do hold promise for phylogenetic studies.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/1998; 95(18):10693-7. · 9.74 Impact Factor