Constraining whole-genome duplication events in geological time

James W Clark, Philip C J Donoghue

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

1 Citation (Scopus)


The timing of whole-genome duplication (WGD) events is crucial to understanding their role in evolution and underpins many hypotheses linking WGD to increased diversity and complexity. As such, means of estimating the timing of the WGD events relative to their macroevolutionary outcomes are of considerable importance. Molecular clock methods facilitate direct estimation of the absolute timing of WGD events, integrating information on the rate of sequence evolution between species while accommodating the uncertainty inherent to the fossil record. We present an explanation of the best practice for constructing fossil calibrations and estimating the age of WGD events via molecular clock methods in the program MCMCtree, with an example dataset based on a well-characterized WGD event within the flowering dogwoods (Cornus). The approach presented herein allows for the estimation of the age of WGD events and subsequent speciation events, allowing the relationship between WGD and the macroevolutionary outcomes to be explored. In our example, we show that in the case of flowering dogwoods, the WGD event long predates the end-Cretaceous mass extinction and that the two events may be independent.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPolyploidy: Methods and Protocols
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2023

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
PublisherHumana Press
ISSN (Print)1064-3745

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023. The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


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