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Data from: Assessing the performance of DNA barcoding using posterior predictive simulations


Barley, Anthony J.; Thomson, Robert C. (2016), Data from: Assessing the performance of DNA barcoding using posterior predictive simulations, Dryad, Dataset,


Accurate estimates of biodiversity are required for research in a broad array of biological subdisciplines including ecology, evolution, systematics, conservation and biodiversity science. The use of statistical models and genetic data, particularly DNA barcoding, has been suggested as an important tool for remedying the large gaps in our current understanding of biodiversity. However, the reliability of biodiversity estimates obtained using these approaches depends on how well the statistical models that are used describe the evolutionary process underlying the genetic data. In this study, we utilize data from the Barcode of Life Database and posterior predictive simulations to assess the performance of DNA barcoding under commonly used substitution models. We demonstrate that the success of DNA barcoding varies widely across DNA substitution models and that model choice has a substantial impact on the number of operational taxonomic units identified (changing results by ~4–31%). Additionally, we demonstrate that the widely followed practice of a priori assuming the Kimura 2-parameter model for DNA barcoding is statistically unjustified and should be avoided. Using both data-based and inference-based test statistics, we detect variation in model performance across taxonomic groups, clustering algorithms, genetic divergence thresholds and substitution models. Taken together, these results illustrate the importance of considering both model selection and model adequacy in studies quantifying biodiversity.

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