Data Types and the Phylogeny of Neoaves

Edward L. Braun, Rebecca T. Kimball
2021 Birds  
The phylogeny of Neoaves, the largest clade of extant birds, has remained unclear despite intense study. The difficulty associated with resolving the early branches in Neoaves is likely driven by the rapid radiation of this group. However, conflicts among studies may be exacerbated by the data type analyzed. For example, analyses of coding exons typically yield trees that place Strisores (nightjars and allies) sister to the remaining Neoaves, while analyses of non-coding data typically yield
more » ... es where Mirandornites (flamingos and grebes) is the sister of the remaining Neoaves. Our understanding of data type effects is hampered by the fact that previous analyses have used different taxa, loci, and types of non-coding data. Herein, we provide strong corroboration of the data type effects hypothesis for Neoaves by comparing trees based on coding and non-coding data derived from the same taxa and gene regions. A simple analytical method known to minimize biases due to base composition (coding nucleotides as purines and pyrimidines) resulted in coding exon data with increased congruence to the non-coding topology using concatenated analyses. These results improve our understanding of the resolution of neoavian phylogeny and point to a challenge—data type effects—that is likely to be an important factor in phylogenetic analyses of birds (and many other taxonomic groups). Using our results, we provide a summary phylogeny that identifies well-corroborated relationships and highlights specific nodes where future efforts should focus.
doi:10.3390/birds2010001 fatcat:kh2uh3bgdfgwbjkdca6fydjssu