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Journal Articles Genetics Year : 2008

Bayesian Comparisons of Codon Substitution Models


In 1994, Muse & Gaut (MG) and Goldman & Yang (GY) proposed evolutionary models that recognize the coding structure of the nucleotide sequences under study, by defining a Markovian substitution process with a state space consisting of the 61 sense codons (assuming the universal genetic code). Several variations and extensions to their models have since been proposed, but no general and flexible framework for contrasting the relative performance of alternative approaches has yet been applied. Here, we compute Bayes factors to evaluate the relative merit of several MG- and GY-style of codon substitution models, including recent extensions acknowledging heterogeneous nonsynonymous rates across sites, as well as selective effects inducing uneven amino acid or codon preferences. Our results on three real data sets support a logical model construction following the MG formulation, allowing for a flexible account of global amino acid or codon preferences, while maintaining distinct parameters governing overall nucleotide propensities. Through posterior predictive checks, we highlight the importance of such a parameterization. Altogether, the framework presented here suggests a broad modeling project in the MG-style, stressing the importance of combining and contrasting available model formulations, and grounding developments in a sound probabilistic paradigm.

Dates and versions

lirmm-00324423 , version 1 (25-09-2008)



Nicolas Rodrigue, Nicolas Lartillot, Herve Philippe. Bayesian Comparisons of Codon Substitution Models. Genetics, 2008, 180 (3), pp.1579-1591. ⟨10.1534/genetics.108.092254⟩. ⟨lirmm-00324423⟩
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