Genome Biology and Evolution | VOL. 14

A Practical Guide to Design and Assess a Phylogenomic Study

Publication Date Aug 10, 2022


Abstract Over the last decade, molecular systematics has undergone a change of paradigm as high-throughput sequencing now makes it possible to reconstruct evolutionary relationships using genome-scale datasets. The advent of “big data” molecular phylogenetics provided a battery of new tools for biologists but simultaneously brought new methodological challenges. The increase in analytical complexity comes at the price of highly specific training in computational biology and molecular phylogenetics, resulting very often in a polarized accumulation of knowledge (technical on one side and biological on the other). Interpreting the robustness of genome-scale phylogenetic studies is not straightforward, particularly as new methodological developments have consistently shown that the general belief of “more genes, more robustness” often does not apply, and because there is a range of systematic errors that plague phylogenomic investigations. This is particularly problematic because phylogenomic studies are highly heterogeneous in their methodology, and best practices are often not clearly defined. The main aim of this article is to present what I consider as the ten most important points to take into consideration when planning a well-thought-out phylogenomic study and while evaluating the quality of published papers. The goal is to provide a practical step-by-step guide that can be easily followed by nonexperts and phylogenomic novices in order to assess the technical robustness of phylogenomic studies or improve t...


Phylogenomic Studies Genome-scale Datasets Analytical Complexity Tools For Biologists Computational Biology Methodological Challenges Molecular Phylogenetics Big Data Methodological Developments High-throughput Sequencing

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