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Phylogenetic Analysis: Models and Estimation Procedures

L. L. Cavalli-Sforza and A. W. F. Edwards
Evolution
Vol. 21, No. 3 (Sep., 1967), pp. 550-570
DOI: 10.2307/2406616
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2406616
Page Count: 21
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Phylogenetic Analysis: Models and Estimation Procedures
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Abstract

An attempt has been made to establish a procedure for estimating the course taken by evolution. The model used is that of a branching random walk, which is strictly valid only when the causes of divergence between populations are random genetic drift and variable selection. With suitable transformations of the data, evolution can then be considered as a branching Brownian-motion process. To keep the model as simple as possible it was supposed that no population becomes extinct and that each population splits, at a random time, into two daughter populations each identical to its parent. The problem was to estimate the form and dimensions of the most probable tree uniting the presently living populations. The ideal method of estimation, maximum likelihood, proved difficult and had to be replaced in part by alternative procedures. In addition to describing the available procedures in detail, a simple example is worked out fully, and the logical content and limitations of the methods are considered in depth.

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