Phylogenetic analysis of Themira (Sepsidae: Diptera): sensitivity analysis, alignment, and indel treatment in a multigene study


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In this study we use sensitivity analysis sensuWheeler (1995) for a matrix entirely composed of DNA sequences. We propose that not only congruence but also phylogenetic structure, as measured by character resampling, should be used to choose among competing weighting regimes. An extensive analysis of a five-gene data set for Themira (Sepsidae: Diptera) reveals that even with different ways of partitioning the data, measures of topological congruence, character incongruence, and phylogenetic structure favor similar weighting regimes involving the down-weighting of transitions. We furthermore use sensitivity analysis for obtaining empirical evidence that allows us to select weights for third positions, deciding between treating indels as fifth character states or missing values, and choosing between manual and computational alignments. For our data, sensitivity analysis favors manual alignment over a Clustal-generated numerical alignment, the treatment of indels as fifth character states over considering them missing values, and equal weights for all positions in protein-encoding genes over the down-weighting of third positions. Among the topological congruence measures compared, symmetric tree distance performed best. Partitioned Bremer Support analysis reveals that COI contributes the largest amount of support for our phylogenetic tree for Themira.

© The Willi Hennig Society 2005.