Detection of molecular convergence – literature review

In prep. (v2 – 21 April 2015)


Convergent evolution is a process by which neutral evolutionary processes and adaptive natural selection in response to niche specialisation lead to similar forms arising in unrelated taxa. Phenotypic convergence has been appreciated for well over a century (recognised as a confounding factor in morphological cladistics). Recently several studies have demonstrated that convergent-type signals exist in some molecular datasets. Extending these studies to genome scale data presents substantial challenges and opportunities. This chapter reviews the definition of convergence (compared to parallelism), and the biological interpretation of apparently convergent molecular data. Recent methodological developments and applications are examined and future problems outlined. These include suitable null and alternative models, and the role of multiple test phylogenies in convergence detection by the congruence / phylogeny support method.


Manuscripts in progress (all rights reserved – you may not copy or distribute these files; content and conclusions subject to change; strictly embargoed until publication in a peer-reviewed journal/book):


  • v1 (10/04/2015): .doc
  • v2 (21/04/2015): .doc