Sources of signal in 62 protein-coding nuclear genes for higher-level phylogenetics of arthropods.

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TitleSources of signal in 62 protein-coding nuclear genes for higher-level phylogenetics of arthropods.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsRegier, JC, Zwick, A
JournalPLoS One
Date Published2011
KeywordsAnimals, Arthropods, Nuclear Proteins, Phylogeny

BACKGROUND: This study aims to investigate the strength of various sources of phylogenetic information that led to recent seemingly robust conclusions about higher-level arthropod phylogeny and to assess the role of excluding or downweighting synonymous change for arriving at those conclusions.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The current study analyzes DNA sequences from 68 gene segments of 62 distinct protein-coding nuclear genes for 80 species. Gene segments analyzed individually support numerous nodes recovered in combined-gene analyses, but few of the higher-level nodes of greatest current interest. However, neither is there support for conflicting alternatives to these higher-level nodes. Gene segments with higher rates of nonsynonymous change tend to be more informative overall, but those with lower rates tend to provide stronger support for deeper nodes. Higher-level nodes with bootstrap values in the 80% - 99% range for the complete data matrix are markedly more sensitive to substantial drops in their bootstrap percentages after character subsampling than those with 100% bootstrap, suggesting that these nodes are likely not to have been strongly supported with many fewer data than in the full matrix. Data set partitioning of total data by (mostly) synonymous and (mostly) nonsynonymous change improves overall node support, but the result remains much inferior to analysis of (unpartitioned) nonsynonymous change alone. Clusters of genes with similar nonsynonymous rate properties (e.g., faster vs. slower) show some distinct patterns of node support but few conflicts. Synonymous change is shown to contribute little, if any, phylogenetic signal to the support of higher-level nodes, but it does contribute nonphylogenetic signal, probably through its underlying heterogeneous nucleotide composition. Analysis of seemingly conservative indels does not prove useful.

CONCLUSIONS: Generating a robust molecular higher-level phylogeny of Arthropoda is currently possible with large amounts of data and an exclusive reliance on nonsynonymous change.

Alternate JournalPLoS ONE
PubMed ID21829732
PubMed Central IDPMC3150433