Estimating species trees using multiple-allele DNA sequence data

Liang Liu, Dennis K. Pearl, Robb T. Brumfield, Scott V. Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

176 Scopus citations


Several techniques, such as concatenation and consensus methods, are available for combining data from multiple loci to produce a single statement of phylogenetic relationships. However, when multiple alleles are sampled from individual species, it becomes more challenging to estimate relationships at the level of species, either because concatenation becomes inappropriate due to conflicts among individual gene trees, or because the species from which multiple alleles have been sampled may not form monophyletic groups in the estimated tree. We propose a Bayesian hierarchical model to reconstruct species trees from multiple-allele, multilocus sequence data, building on a recently proposed method for estimating species trees from single allele multilocus data. A two-step Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithm is adopted to estimate the posterior distribution of the species tree. The model is applied to estimate the posterior distribution of species trees for two multiple-allele datasets - yeast (Saccharomyces) and birds (Manacus - manakins). The estimates of the species trees using our method are consistent with those inferred from other methods and genetic markers, but in contrast to other species tree methods, it provides credible regions for the species tree. The Bayesian approach described here provides a powerful framework for statistical testing and integration of population genetics and phylogenetics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2080-2091
Number of pages12
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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