Potential for bias and low precision in molecular divergence time estimation of the Canopy of Life: An example from aquatic bird families

Marcel van Tuinen*, Christopher R. Torres

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
246 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Uncertainty in divergence time estimation is frequently studied from many angles but rarely from the perspective of phylogenetic node age. If appropriate molecular models and fossil priors are used, a multi-locus, partitioned analysis is expected to equally minimize error in accuracy and precision across all nodes of a given phylogeny. In contrast, if available models fail to completely account for rate heterogeneity, substitution saturation and incompleteness of the fossil record, uncertainty in divergence time estimation may increase with node age. While many studies have stressed this concern with regard to deep nodes in the Tree of Life, the inference that molecular divergence time estimation of shallow nodes is less sensitive to erroneous model choice has not been tested explicitly in a Bayesian framework. Because of available divergence time estimation methods that permit fossil priors across any phylogenetic node and the present increase in efficient, cheap collection of species-level genomic data, insight is needed into the performance of divergence time estimation of shallow (

Original languageEnglish
Article number203
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Genetics
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8-Jun-2015

Keywords

  • BRANCH-LENGTH ESTIMATION
  • FOSSIL CALIBRATIONS
  • EVOLUTIONARY HISTORY
  • BAYESIAN-ESTIMATION
  • SPECIES TREES
  • SEQUENCE DATA
  • DIVERSIFICATION
  • CLOCK
  • UNCERTAINTY
  • MITOCHONDRIAL

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