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Title: Limitations of Phylogenomic Data Can Drive Inferred Speciation Rate Shifts
Abstract Biodiversity analyses of phylogenomic timetrees have produced many high-profile examples of shifts in the rate of speciation across the tree of life. Temporally correlated events in ecology, climate, and biogeography are frequently invoked to explain these rate shifts. In a re-examination of 15 genomic timetrees and 25 major published studies of the pattern of speciation through time, we observed an unexpected correlation between the timing of reported rate shifts and the information content of sequence alignments. Here, we show that the paucity of sequence variation and insufficient species sampling in phylogenomic data sets are the likely drivers of many inferred speciation rate shifts, rather than the proposed biological explanations. Therefore, data limitations can produce predictable but spurious signals of rate shifts even when speciation rates may be similar across taxa and time. Our results suggest that the reliable detection of speciation rate shifts requires the acquisition and assembly of long phylogenomic alignments with near-complete species sampling and accurate estimates of species richness for the clades of study.  more » « less
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Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Tamura, Koichiro
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Molecular Biology and Evolution
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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