Send to

Choose Destination
Mol Biol Evol. 2011 Feb;28(2):879-87. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msq262. Epub 2010 Oct 1.

A Bayesian phylogenetic method to estimate unknown sequence ages.

Author information

Department of Biology, The Pennsylvania State University, PA, USA.


Heterochronous data sets comprise molecular sequences sampled at different points in time. If the temporal range of the sampled sequences is large relative to the rate of mutation, the sampling times can directly calibrate evolutionary rates to calendar time. Here, we extend this calibration process to provide a full probabilistic method that utilizes temporal information in heterochronous data sets to estimate sampling times (leaf-ages) for sequenced for which this information unavailable. Our method is similar to relaxing the constraints of the molecular clock on specific lineages within a phylogenetic tree. Using a combination of synthetic and empirical data sets, we demonstrate that the method estimates leaf-ages reliably and accurately. Potential applications of our approach include incorporating samples of uncertain or radiocarbon-infinite age into ancient DNA analyses, evaluating the temporal signal in a particular sequence or data set, and exploring the reliability of sequence ages that are somehow contentious.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center