A Bayesian Supertree Model for Genome-Wide Species Tree Reconstruction

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Abstract

Current phylogenomic data sets highlight the need for species tree methods able to deal with several sources of gene tree/species tree incongruence. At the same time, we need to make most use of all available data. Most species tree methods deal with single processes of phylogenetic discordance, namely, gene duplication and loss, incomplete lineage sorting (ILS) or horizontal gene transfer. In this manuscript, we address the problem of species tree inference from multilocus, genome-wide data sets regardless of the presence of gene duplication and loss and ILS therefore without the need to identify orthologs or to use a single individual per species. We do this by extending the idea of Maximum Likelihood (ML) supertrees to a hierarchical Bayesian model where several sources of gene tree/species tree disagreement can be accounted for in a modular manner. We implemented this model in a computer program called guenomu whose inputs are posterior distributions of unrooted gene tree topologies for multiple gene families, and whose output is the posterior distribution of rooted species tree topologies. We conducted extensive simulations to evaluate the performance of our approach in comparison with other species tree approaches able to deal with more than one leaf from the same species. Our method ranked best under simulated data sets, in spite of ignoring branch lengths, and performed well on empirical data, as well as being fast enough to analyze relatively large data sets. Our Bayesian supertree method was also very successful in obtaining better estimates of gene trees, by reducing the uncertainty in their distributions. In addition, our results show that under complex simulation scenarios, gene tree parsimony is also a competitive approach once we consider its speed, in contrast to more sophisticated models.

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