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Mol Biol Evol. 2001 Mar;18(3):352-61.

Performance of a divergence time estimation method under a probabilistic model of rate evolution.

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  • 1Laboratory of Biometrics, Graduate School of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.


Rates of molecular evolution vary over time and, hence, among lineages. In contrast, widely used methods for estimating divergence times from molecular sequence data assume constancy of rates. Therefore, methods for estimation of divergence times that incorporate rate variation are attractive. Improvements on a previously proposed Bayesian technique for divergence time estimation are described. New parameterization more effectively captures the phylogenetic structure of rate evolution on a tree. Fossil information and other evidence can now be included in Bayesian analyses in the form of constraints on divergence times. Simulation results demonstrate that the accuracy of divergence time estimation is substantially enhanced when constraints are included.

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