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The correct interpretation of any phylogenetic tree is dependent on that tree being correctly rooted. We present STRIDE, a fast, effective, and outgroup-free method for identification of gene duplication events and species tree root inference in large-scale molecular phylogenetic analyses. STRIDE identifies sets of well-supported in-group gene duplication events from a set of unrooted gene trees, and analyses these events to infer a probability distribution over an unrooted species tree for the location of its root. We show that STRIDE correctly identifies the root of the species tree in multiple large-scale molecular phylogenetic data sets spanning a wide range of timescales and taxonomic groups. We demonstrate that the novel probability model implemented in STRIDE can accurately represent the ambiguity in species tree root assignment for data sets where information is limited. Furthermore, application of STRIDE to outgroup-free inference of the origin of the eukaryotic tree resulted in a root probability distribution that provides additional support for leading hypotheses for the origin of the eukaryotes.

Original publication




Journal article


Mol Biol Evol

Publication Date





3267 - 3278


gene duplication, phylogenetics, phylogenomics, tree inference