Article: article from journal or magazin.
Effect of genetic convergence on phylogenetic inference.
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Phylogenetic reconstructions are a major component of many studies in evolutionary biology, but their accuracy can be reduced under certain conditions. Recent studies showed that the convergent evolution of some phenotypes resulted from recurrent amino acid substitutions in genes belonging to distant lineages. It has been suggested that these convergent substitutions could bias phylogenetic reconstruction toward grouping convergent phenotypes together, but such an effect has never been appropriately tested. We used computer simulations to determine the effect of convergent substitutions on the accuracy of phylogenetic inference. We show that, in some realistic conditions, even a relatively small proportion of convergent codons can strongly bias phylogenetic reconstruction, especially when amino acid sequences are used as characters. The strength of this bias does not depend on the reconstruction method but varies as a function of how much divergence had occurred among the lineages prior to any episodes of convergent substitutions. While the occurrence of this bias is difficult to predict, the risk of spurious groupings is strongly decreased by considering only 3rd codon positions, which are less subject to selection, as long as saturation problems are not present. Therefore, we recommend that, whenever possible, topologies obtained with amino acid sequences and 3rd codon positions be compared to identify potential phylogenetic biases and avoid evolutionarily misleading conclusions.
Phylogeny, Bias, Evolutionary convergence, Amino acids, Codons, Simulations
Web of science
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