Bayesian Phylogenetics Using an RNA Substitution Model Applied to Early Mammalian Evolution
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We study the phylogeny of the placental mammals using molecular data from all mitochondrial tRNAs and rRNAs of 54 species. We use probabilistic substitution models specific to evolution in base paired regions of RNA. A number of these models have been implemented in a new phylogenetic inference software package for carrying out maximum likelihood and Bayesian phylogenetic inferences. We describe our Bayesian phylogenetic method which uses a Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm to provide samples from the posterior distribution of tree topologies. Our results show support for four primary mammalian clades, in agreement with recent studies of much larger data sets mainly comprising nuclear DNA. We discuss some issues arising when using Bayesian techniques on RNA sequence data.
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