PMID: 7932784Aug 1, 1994Paper

Inconsistency of the maximum parsimony method when the rate of nucleotide substitution is constant

Journal of Molecular Evolution
Naoko Takezaki, M Nei

Abstract

The inconsistency of the maximum parsimony method is known to occur even when the rate of nucleotide substitution is constant. To understand why this inconsistency occurs, a mathematical study was conducted for the cases of five, six, and seven sequences. The results obtained indicate that this inconsistency occurs because the probability of occurrence of nucleotide configurations generated by one substitution on a short interior branch is often lower than that of configurations generated by more substitutions on other longer branches. The chance of occurrence of this event--or, the inconsistency of the maximum parsimony method--apparently increases as the number of sequences increases. The inconsistency may occur even when the extent of sequence divergence is relatively small.

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