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The effects of topological inaccuracy in evolutionary trees on the phylogenetic comparative method of independent contrasts
journal contributionposted on 2002-08-01, 00:00 authored by Matthew SymondsMatthew Symonds
Computer simulations were used to test the effect of increasing phylogenetic topological inaccuracy on the results obtained from correlation tests of independent contrasts. Predictably, increasing the number of disruptions in the tree increases the likelihood of significant error in the r values produced and in the statistical conclusions drawn from the analysis. However, the position of the disruption in the tree is important: Disruptions closer to the tips of the tree have a greater effect than do disruptions that are close to the root of the tree. Independent contrasts derived from inaccurate topologies are more likely to lead to erroneous conclusions when there is a true significant relationship between the variables being tested (i.e., they tend to be conservative). The results also suggest that random phylogenies perform no better than nonphylogenetic analyses and, under certain conditions, may perform even worse than analyses using raw species data. Therefore, the use of random phylogenies is not beneficial in the absence of knowledge of the true phylogeny.
Pagination541 - 553
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication classificationC1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice2002, Oxford University Press