JML: testing hybridization from species trees



    1. Institut de recherche en biologie végétale, Université de Montréal and Jardin botanique de Montréal, 4101 Sherbrooke Est, Montréal, Quebec, Canada H1X 2B2
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Simon Joly, Fax: +1 514-343-2288; E-mail:


I introduce the software jml that tests for the presence of hybridization in multispecies sequence data sets by posterior predictive checking following Joly, McLenachan and Lockhart (2009, American Naturalist 174, e54). Although their method could potentially be applied on any data set, the lack of appropriate software made its application difficult. The software jml thus fills a need for an easy application of the method but also includes improvements such as the possibility to incorporate uncertainty in the species tree topology. The jml software uses a posterior distribution of species trees, population sizes and branch lengths to simulate replicate sequence data sets using the coalescent with no migration. A test quantity, defined as the minimum pairwise sequence distance between sequences of two species, is then evaluated on the simulated data sets and compared to the one estimated from the original data. Because the test quantity is a good predictor of hybridization events, departure from the bifurcating species tree model could be interpreted as evidence of hybridization. Software performance in terms of computing time is evaluated for several parameters. I also show an application example of the software for detecting hybridization among native diploid North American roses.