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Searching for Evolutionary Patterns in the Shape of a Phylogenetic Tree

Mark Kirkpatrick and Montgomery Slatkin
Evolution
Vol. 47, No. 4 (Aug., 1993), pp. 1171-1181
DOI: 10.2307/2409983
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2409983
Page Count: 11
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Searching for Evolutionary Patterns in the Shape of a Phylogenetic Tree
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Abstract

If all species in a clade are equally likely to speciate or become extinct, then highly symmetric and highly asymmetric phylogenetic trees are unlikely to result. Variation between species in speciation and extinction rates can cause excessive asymmetry. We developed six non-parametric statistical tests that test for nonrandom patterns of branching in any bifurcating tree. The tests are demonstrated by applying them to two published phylogenies for genera of beetles. Comparison of the power of the six statistics under a simple model of biased speciation suggests which of them may be most useful for detecting nonrandom tree shapes.

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