Information on the history of cospeciation and host switching for a group of host and parasite species is contained in the DNA sequences sampled from each. Here, we develop a Bayesian framework for the analysis of cospeciation. We suggest a simple model of host switching by a parasite on a host phylogeny in which host switching events are assumed to occur at a constant rate over the entire evolutionary history of associated hosts and parasites. The posterior probability density of the parameters of the model of host switching are evaluated numerically using Markov chain Monte Carlo. In particular, the method generates the probability density of the number of host switches and of the host switching rate. Moreover, the method provides information on the probability that an event of host switching is associated with a particular pair of branches. A Bayesian approach has several advantages over other methods for the analysis of cospeciation. In particular, it does not assume that the host or parasite phylogenies are known without error; many alternative phylogenies are sampled in proportion to their probability of being correct.
Corresponding Editor: W. T. Starmer