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Polytomies and the power of phylogenetic inference

Polytomies and the power of phylogenetic inference

Evolution 53(3): 2-7

The potential for statistical power analysis to differentiate between hard and soft polytomies in molecular phylogenies was assessed. Polytomies are multifurcating rather than bifurcating relationships; soft polytomies represent rapid cladogenesis, and hard polytomies represent multiple simultaneous speciation events. Classic power analysis was used to estimate whether the 3,000 bp of sequence data presently available on the phylogeny of the auklets, a group of seabirds among which relationships are represented by a polytomy, is sufficient to resolve their phylogeny. The results suggested that the data are sufficient to differentiate speciation events that occurred at least 100,000 years apart, 2.6 million years ago.

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Accession: 009942846

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DOI: 10.2307/2640732

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