A computer simulation analysis of the accuracy of partial genome sequencing and restriction fragment analysis in the reconstruction of phylogenetic relationships

Baozhen Qiao, Tony L. Goldberg, Gary J. Olsen, Ronald M. Weigel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Partial genome sequencing (PGS) and restriction fragment analysis (RFA) are used frequently in molecular epidemiologic investigations. The relative accuracy of PGS and RFA in phylogenetic reconstruction has not been assessed. In this study, 32 model phylogenetic trees with 16 extant lineages were generated, for which DNA sequences were simulated under varying conditions of genome length, nucleotide substitution rate, and between-site substitution rate variation. Genotyping using PGS and RFA was simulated. The effect of tree structure (stemminess, imbalance, lineage variation) on the accuracy of phylogenetic reconstruction (topological and branch length similarity) was evaluated. Overall, PGS was more accurate than RFA. The accuracy of PGS increased with increasing sequence length. The accuracy of RFA increased with the number of restriction enzymes used. In fragment size comparison, the Dice and Nei-Li algorithms differed little, with both more accurate than the Fragment Size Distribution algorithm. For RFA, higher tree stemminess and longer genome length were associated with higher topological accuracy, whereas lower tree stemminess and lower substitution rates were associated with higher branch length accuracy. For PGS, lower tree imbalance was associated with higher topological accuracy, whereas lower tree stemminess, higher substitution rate, and lower between-site substitution rate variation were associated with higher branch length accuracy. RFA had higher topological accuracy than PGS only for the shortest sequence length (200 bps) at a low substitution rate, high tree stemminess, and long genome length. PGS had equal or higher accuracy in branch length reconstruction than RFA under all conditions investigated. Thus, partial genome sequencing is recommended over restriction fragment analysis for conditions within the parameter space examined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-330
Number of pages8
JournalInfection, Genetics and Evolution
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2006



  • Computer simulation
  • Disease transmission
  • Molecular epidemiology
  • Partial genome sequencing
  • Phylogenetic reconstruction
  • Restriction fragment analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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