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      Phylogenetic relationships among Staphylococcus species and refinement of cluster groups based on multilocus data

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          Estimates of relationships among Staphylococcus species have been hampered by poor and inconsistent resolution of phylogenies based largely on single gene analyses incorporating only a limited taxon sample. As such, the evolutionary relationships and hierarchical classification schemes among species have not been confidently established. Here, we address these points through analyses of DNA sequence data from multiple loci (16S rRNA gene, dnaJ, rpoB, and tuf gene fragments) using multiple Bayesian and maximum likelihood phylogenetic approaches that incorporate nearly all recognized Staphylococcus taxa.


          We estimated the phylogeny of fifty-seven Staphylococcus taxa using partitioned-model Bayesian and maximum likelihood analysis, as well as Bayesian gene-tree species-tree methods. Regardless of methodology, we found broad agreement among methods that the current cluster groups require revision, although there was some disagreement among methods in resolution of higher order relationships. Based on our phylogenetic estimates, we propose a refined classification for Staphylococcus with species being classified into 15 cluster groups (based on molecular data) that adhere to six species groups (based on phenotypic properties).


          Our findings are in general agreement with gene tree-based reports of the staphylococcal phylogeny, although we identify multiple previously unreported relationships among species. Our results support the general importance of such multilocus assessments as a standard in microbial studies to more robustly infer relationships among recognized and newly discovered lineages.

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          Most cited references 58

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          MEGA4: Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis (MEGA) software version 4.0.

          We announce the release of the fourth version of MEGA software, which expands on the existing facilities for editing DNA sequence data from autosequencers, mining Web-databases, performing automatic and manual sequence alignment, analyzing sequence alignments to estimate evolutionary distances, inferring phylogenetic trees, and testing evolutionary hypotheses. Version 4 includes a unique facility to generate captions, written in figure legend format, in order to provide natural language descriptions of the models and methods used in the analyses. This facility aims to promote a better understanding of the underlying assumptions used in analyses, and of the results generated. Another new feature is the Maximum Composite Likelihood (MCL) method for estimating evolutionary distances between all pairs of sequences simultaneously, with and without incorporating rate variation among sites and substitution pattern heterogeneities among lineages. This MCL method also can be used to estimate transition/transversion bias and nucleotide substitution pattern without knowledge of the phylogenetic tree. This new version is a native 32-bit Windows application with multi-threading and multi-user supports, and it is also available to run in a Linux desktop environment (via the Wine compatibility layer) and on Intel-based Macintosh computers under the Parallels program. The current version of MEGA is available free of charge at (
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            A simple, fast, and accurate algorithm to estimate large phylogenies by maximum likelihood.

            The increase in the number of large data sets and the complexity of current probabilistic sequence evolution models necessitates fast and reliable phylogeny reconstruction methods. We describe a new approach, based on the maximum- likelihood principle, which clearly satisfies these requirements. The core of this method is a simple hill-climbing algorithm that adjusts tree topology and branch lengths simultaneously. This algorithm starts from an initial tree built by a fast distance-based method and modifies this tree to improve its likelihood at each iteration. Due to this simultaneous adjustment of the topology and branch lengths, only a few iterations are sufficient to reach an optimum. We used extensive and realistic computer simulations to show that the topological accuracy of this new method is at least as high as that of the existing maximum-likelihood programs and much higher than the performance of distance-based and parsimony approaches. The reduction of computing time is dramatic in comparison with other maximum-likelihood packages, while the likelihood maximization ability tends to be higher. For example, only 12 min were required on a standard personal computer to analyze a data set consisting of 500 rbcL sequences with 1,428 base pairs from plant plastids, thus reaching a speed of the same order as some popular distance-based and parsimony algorithms. This new method is implemented in the PHYML program, which is freely available on our web page:
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              MrBayes 3: Bayesian phylogenetic inference under mixed models.

              MrBayes 3 performs Bayesian phylogenetic analysis combining information from different data partitions or subsets evolving under different stochastic evolutionary models. This allows the user to analyze heterogeneous data sets consisting of different data types-e.g. morphological, nucleotide, and protein-and to explore a wide variety of structured models mixing partition-unique and shared parameters. The program employs MPI to parallelize Metropolis coupling on Macintosh or UNIX clusters.

                Author and article information

                [1 ]Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Central Florida College of Medicine, 4000 Central Florida Boulevard, Orlando, FL, 32816, USA
                [2 ]Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, 12801 17th Avenue, Aurora, CO, 80045, USA
                [3 ]Stokes Advanced Research Computing Center, Institute for Simulation and Training, University of Central Florida, 3100 Technology Parkway, Orlando, FL, 32826, USA
                [4 ]Department of Biology, University of Central Florida, 4000 Central Florida Boulevard, Orlando, FL, 32816, USA
                [5 ]Current affiliation: Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON, L8S 4K1, Canada
                BMC Evol Biol
                BMC Evol. Biol
                BMC Evolutionary Biology
                BioMed Central
                6 September 2012
                : 12
                : 171
                Copyright ©2012 Lamers et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Research Article

                Evolutionary Biology


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