Molecular Phylogeny Reconstruction

Abstract

Molecular phylogenetics deals with the inference of evolutionary relationships among individuals, populations, species and higher taxonomic entities using molecular data. By modelling patterns of molecular change in protein and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sequences over time, scientists now routinely reconstruct evolutionary histories of species and evaluate confidence levels of the inferences. Molecular phylogenetic inferences have been not only supportive of traditional phylogenies, but also instrumental in resolving some difficult questions regarding branching orders within many evolutionary lineages. Because of the vast and growing databases of molecular sequence information, this area promises to be an important key to understanding the history and relationships of all life forms on this planet.

Keywords: phylogeny; molecular evolution; sequence analysis; bioinformatics

Figure 1.

An alignment of a portion of the γ‐fibrinogen gene sequence from five mammals. Insertion–deletion mutations predicted by sequence alignment are shown with hyphens (‐) and the missing data is shown with question marks (?).

Figure 2.

Rooted (a) and unrooted (b) tree of five sequences. Branch lengths are drawn proportional to evolutionary distance, which can be expressed in the units of time or the number of substitutions.

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Durbin R, Eddy S, Krogh A and Mitchison G (1998) Biological Sequence Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Graur D and Li W‐H (1999) Fundamentals of Molecular Evolution, 2nd edn. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates.

Li W‐H (1997) Molecular Evolution. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates.

Page RDM and Holmes EC (1998) Molecular Evolution: A Phylogenetic Approach. Oxford: Blackwell Science.

Patthy L (1999) Protein Evolution. Oxford: Blackwell Science.

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How to Cite close
Kumar, Sudhir, and Filipski, Alan(Mar 2008) Molecular Phylogeny Reconstruction. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0001523.pub2]