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Patterns and causes of incongruence between plastid and nuclear Senecioneae (Asteraceae) phylogenies

Pelser, Pieter B., Kennedy, Aaron H., Tepe, Eric J., Shidler, Jacob B., Nordenstam, Bertil, Kadereit, Joachim W., Watson, Linda E.
American journal of botany 2010 v.97 no.5 pp. 856-873
Asteraceae, hybridization, population size, sorting
One of the longstanding questions in phylogenetic systematics is how to address incongruence among phylogenies obtained from multiple markers and how to determine the causes. This study presents a detailed analysis of incongruent patterns between plastid and ITS/ETS phylogenies of Tribe Senecioneae (Asteraceae). This approach revealed widespread and strongly supported incongruence, which complicates conclusions about evolutionary relationships at all taxonomic levels. The patterns of incongruence that were resolved suggest that incomplete lineage sorting (ILS) and/or ancient hybridization are the most likely explanations. These phenomena are, however, extremely difficult to distinguish because they may result in similar phylogenetic patterns. We present a novel approach to evaluate whether ILS can be excluded as an explanation for incongruent patterns. This coalescence-based method uses molecular dating estimates of the duration of the putative ILS events to determine if invoking ILS as an explanation for incongruence would require unrealistically high effective population sizes. For four of the incongruent patterns identified within the Senecioneae, this approach indicates that ILS cannot be invoked to explain the observed incongruence. Alternatively, these patterns are more realistically explained by ancient hybridization events.