Accommodating Phylogenetic Uncertainty in Evolutionary Studies

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Science  30 Jun 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5475, pp. 2349-2350
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5475.2349

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Many evolutionary studies use comparisons across species to detect evidence of natural selection and to examine the rate of character evolution. Statistical analyses in these studies are usually performed by means of a species phylogeny to accommodate the effects of shared evolutionary history. The phylogeny is usually treated as known without error; this assumption is problematic because inferred phylogenies are subject to both stochastic and systematic errors. We describe methods for accommodating phylogenetic uncertainty in evolutionary studies by means of Bayesian inference. The methods are computationally intensive but general enough to be applied in most comparative evolutionary studies.

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