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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2005

Networks in phylogenetic analysis: new tools for population biology

Morrison, DA


Phylogenetic analysis has changed greatly in the past decade, including the more widespread appreciation of the idea that evolutionary histories are not always tree-like, and may, thus, be best represented as reticulated networks rather than as strictly dichotomous trees. Reconstructing such histories in the absence of a bifurcating speciation process is even more difficult than the usual procedure, and a range of alternative strategies have been developed. There seem to be two basic uses for a network model of evolution: the display of real but unobservable evolutionary events (i.e. a hypothesis of the true phylogenetic history), and the display of character conflict within the data itself (i.e. a summary of the data). These two general approaches are briefly reviewed here, and the strengths and weaknesses of the different implementations are compared and contrasted. Each network methodology seems to have limitations in terms of how it responds to increasing complexity (e.g. conflict) in the data, and therefore each is likely to be more appropriate for one of the two uses than for the other. Several examples using parasitological data sets illustrate the uses of networks within the context of population biology. (c) 2005 Australian Society for Parasitology Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved

Published in

International Journal for Parasitology
2005, volume: 35, number: 5, pages: 567-582

Authors' information

Morrison, David
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Biomedical Science and Veterinary Public Health

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