Concordance analysis in mitogenomic phylogenetics

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11 Scopus citations


Here I advocate the utility of Bayesian concordance analysis as a mechanism for exploring the magnitude and source of phylogenetic signal in concatenated mitogenomic phylogenetic studies. While typically applied to the study of independently evolving gene trees, Bayesian concordance analysis can also be applied to linked, but individually analyzed, gene regions using a prior probability that reflects the expectation of similar phylogenetic reconstructions. For true branches in the mitogenomic tree, concordance factors should represent the number of gene regions that contain phylogenetic signal for a particular clade. As a demonstration of the application of Bayesian concordance analysis to empirical data, I analyzed two different salamander (Hynobiidae and Plethodontidae) mitogenomic data sets using a gene-based partitioning strategy. The results revealed many strongly supported clades in the concatenated trees that have high concordance factors, permitting the inference that these are robustly resolved through phylogenetic signal distributed across the mitogenome. In contrast, a number of strongly supported clades in the concatenated tree received low concordance factors, indicating that their reconstruction is either driven primarily by phylogenetic signal in a small number of gene regions, or that they are inconsistent reconstructions influenced by properties of the data that can produce inaccurate trees (e.g., compositional bias, selection, etc.). Exploration of the Bayesian joint posterior distribution of trees highlighted partitions that contribute phylogenetic information to similar clade reconstructions. This approach was particularly insightful in the hynobiid data, where different combinations of genes were identified that support alternative tree reconstructions. Concatenated analysis of these different subsets of genes highlighted through Bayesian concordance analysis produced strongly supported and contrasting trees, demonstrating the potential for inconsistency in concatenated mitogenomic phylogenetics. The overall results presented here suggest that Bayesian concordance analysis can serve as an effective exploration of the influence of different gene regions in mitogenomic (and other organellar genomic) phylogenetic studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-202
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Commonwealth of Kentucky and by the National Science Foundation through awards DEB-0949532 and NSF-KY EPSCoR RII Grant Number EPS-0814194.


  • Bayesian concordance analysis
  • Concatenation
  • Mitogenomics
  • Phylogenetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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