Phylogenetic analysis of RAD-seq data: examining the influence of gene genealogy conflict on analysis of concatenated data

David M. Rivers, Clive T. Darwell, David M. Althoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


One of the major issues in phylogenetic analysis is that gene genealogies from different gene regions may not reflect the true species tree or history of speciation. This has led to considerable debate about whether concatenation of loci is the best approach for phylogenetic analysis. The application of Next-generation sequencing techniques such as RAD-seq generates thousands of relatively short sequence reads from across the genomes of the sampled taxa. These data sets are typically concatenated for phylogenetic analysis leading to data sets that contain millions of base pairs per taxon. The influence of gene region conflict among so many loci in determining the phylogenetic relationships among taxa is unclear. We simulated RAD-seq data by sampling 100 and 500 base pairs from alignments of over 6000 coding regions that each produce one of three highly supported alternative phylogenies of seven species of Drosophila. We conducted phylogenetic analyses on different sets of these regions to vary the sampling of loci with alternative gene trees to examine the effect on detecting the species tree. Irrespective of sequence length sampled per region and which subset of regions was used, phylogenetic analyses of the concatenated data always recovered the species tree. The results suggest that concatenated alignments of Next-generation data that consist of many short sequences are robust to gene tree/species tree conflict when the goal is to determine the phylogenetic relationships among taxa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)672-681
Number of pages10
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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