Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Phylogenomic testing of root hypotheses - demonstrative datasets - Opisthokonta and Proteobacteria


Tria, Fernando; Dagan, Tal; Landan, Giddy (2022), Phylogenomic testing of root hypotheses - demonstrative datasets - Opisthokonta and Proteobacteria, Dryad, Dataset,


The determination of the last common ancestor (LCA) of a group of species plays a vital role in evolutionary theory. Traditionally, an LCA is inferred by the rooting of a fully resolved species tree. From a theoretical perspective, however, inference of the LCA amounts to the reconstruction of just one branch - the root branch - of the true species tree, and should therefore be a much easier task than the full resolution of the species tree. Discarding the reliance on a hypothesised species tree and its rooting leads us to re-evaluate what phylogenetic signal is directly relevant to LCA inference, and to recast the task as that of sampling the total evidence from all gene families at the genomic scope. Here we reformulate LCA and root inference in the framework of statistical hypothesis testing and outline an analytical procedure to formally test competing a-priori LCA hypotheses and to infer confidence sets for the earliest speciation events in the history of a group of species. Applying our methods to two demonstrative datasets we show that our inference of the opisthokonta LCA is well in agreement with the common knowledge. Inference of the proteobacteria LCA shows that it is most closely related to modern Epsilonproteobacteria, raising the possibility that it may have been characterized by a chemolithoautotrophic and anaerobic life-style. Our inference is based on data comprising between 43% (opisthokonta) and 86% (proteobacteria) of all gene families. Approaching LCA inference within a statistical framework renders the phylogenomic inference powerful and robust.


Usage Notes

Two gzipped nexus files with alignments and trees.

For file format see

For dataset definition and methods used see