Statistical properties of bootstrap estimation of phylogenetic variability from nucleotide sequences: II. Four taxa without a molecular clock

Journal of Molecular Evolution
A Zharkikh, W H Li

Abstract

The statistical properties of sample estimation and bootstrap estimation of phylogenetic variability from a sample of nucleotide sequences were studied by considering model trees of three taxa with an outgroup. The cases of constant and varying rates of nucleotide substitution were compared. From sequences obtained by simulation, phylogenetic trees were constructed by using the maximum parsimony (MP) and neighbor-joining (NJ) methods. The effectiveness and consistency of the MP method were studied in terms of proportions of informative sites. The results of simulation showed that bootstrap estimation of the confidence level for an inferred phylogeny can be used even under unequal rates of evolution if the rate differences are not large so that the MP method is not misleading. The condition under which the MP method becomes misleading (inconsistent) is more stringent for slowly evolving sequences than for rapidly evolving ones, and it also depends on the length of the internal branch. If the rate differences are large so that the MP method becomes consistently misleading, then bootstrap estimation will reinforce an erroneous conclusion on topology. Similar conclusions apply to the NJ method with uncorrected distances. The NJ met...Continue Reading

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