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Int J Mol Sci. 2010 Mar 24;11(4):1190-227. doi: 10.3390/ijms11041190.

Inference of population history by coupling exploratory and model-driven phylogeographic analyses.

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Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA. <>


Understanding the nature, timing and geographic context of historical events and population processes that shaped the spatial distribution of genetic diversity is critical for addressing questions relating to speciation, selection, and applied conservation management. Cladistic analysis of gene trees has been central to phylogeography, but when coupled with approaches that make use of different components of the information carried by DNA sequences and their frequencies, the strength and resolution of these inferences can be improved. However, assessing concordance of inferences drawn using different analytical methods or genetic datasets, and integrating their outcomes, can be challenging. Here we overview the strengths and limitations of different types of genetic data, analysis methods, and approaches to historical inference. We then turn our attention to the potentially synergistic interactions among widely-used and emerging phylogeographic analyses, and discuss some of the ways that spatial and temporal concordance among inferences can be assessed. We close this review with a brief summary and outlook on future research directions.


cladistic analysis; landscape history; molecular markers; population structure; statistical phylogeography; temporal contrasts

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