Effects of 16S rDNA sampling on estimates of the number of endosymbiont lineages in sucking lice. Academic Article uri icon


  • Phylogenetic trees can reveal the origins of endosymbiotic lineages of bacteria and detect patterns of co-evolution with their hosts. Although taxon sampling can greatly affect phylogenetic and co-evolutionary inference, most hypotheses of endosymbiont relationships are based on few available bacterial sequences. Here we examined how different sampling strategies of Gammaproteobacteria sequences affect estimates of the number of endosymbiont lineages in parasitic sucking lice (Insecta: Phthirapatera: Anoplura). We estimated the number of louse endosymbiont lineages using both newly obtained and previously sequenced 16S rDNA bacterial sequences and more than 42,000 16S rDNA sequences from other Gammaproteobacteria. We also performed parametric and nonparametric bootstrapping experiments to examine the effects of phylogenetic error and uncertainty on these estimates. Sampling of 16S rDNA sequences affects the estimates of endosymbiont diversity in sucking lice until we reach a threshold of genetic diversity, the size of which depends on the sampling strategy. Sampling by maximizing the diversity of 16S rDNA sequences is more efficient than randomly sampling available 16S rDNA sequences. Although simulation results validate estimates of multiple endosymbiont lineages in sucking lice, the bootstrap results suggest that the precise number of endosymbiont origins is still uncertain.

author list (cited authors)

  • Allen, J. M., Burleigh, J. G., Light, J. E., & Reed, D. L.

complete list of authors

  • Allen, Julie M||Burleigh, J Gordon||Light, Jessica E||Reed, David L

publication date

  • January 1, 2016 11:11 AM


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