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Journal Article

Statistical Inference of Phylogenies

Joseph Felsenstein
Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series A (General)
Vol. 146, No. 3 (1983), pp. 246-272
Published by: Wiley for the Royal Statistical Society
DOI: 10.2307/2981654
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2981654
Page Count: 27
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Statistical Inference of Phylogenies
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Abstract

A major objective of biological systematics is inferring phylogenies (evolutionary trees) from data on species. This involves inferring an unknown tree from data generated by a stochastic process operating along the tree. Statistical work on inferring phylogenies has concentrated on two cases: nucleic acid sequence data, modelled by a stochastic process with four discrete states, and gene frequency data, modelled by Brownian motion. A review of this work is presented. There are many unsolved problems, the most important of which is to persuade biologists to think of the problem of inferring phylogenies as being basically statistical, and to abandon deductive frameworks that are used as a justification for "parsimony" methods.

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