In the last few years, several statistically consistent consensus methods for species tree inference have been devised that are robust to the gene tree discordance caused by incomplete lineage sorting in unstructured ancestral populations. One source of gene tree discordance that has only recently been identified as a potential obstacle for phylogenetic inference is ancestral population structure. In this article, we describe a general model of ancestral population structure, and by relying on a single carefully constructed example scenario, we show that the consensus methods Democratic Vote, STEAC, STAR, R* Consensus, Rooted Triple Consensus, Minimize Deep Coalescences, and Majority-Rule Consensus are statistically inconsistent under the model. We find that among the consensus methods evaluated, the only method that is statistically consistent in the presence of ancestral population structure is GLASS/Maximum Tree. We use simulations to evaluate the behavior of the various consensus methods in a model with ancestral population structure, showing that as the number of gene trees increases, estimates on the basis of GLASS/Maximum Tree approach the true species tree topology irrespective of the level of population structure, whereas estimates based on the remaining methods only approach the true species tree topology if the level of structure is low. However, through simulations using species trees both with and without ancestral population structure, we show that GLASS/Maximum Tree performs unusually poorly on gene trees inferred from alignments with little information. This practical limitation of GLASS/Maximum Tree together with the inconsistency of other methods prompts the need for both further testing of additional existing methods and development of novel methods under conditions that incorporate ancestral population structure.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics