Probabilities on Phylogenetic Trees

Byron Adams bjadams at CRCVMS.UNL.EDU
Fri Sep 19 09:54:04 CDT 1997

> John Trueman wrote:
>>  Is the *least*
>>parsimonious tree really the least bold, or is it almost as bold as the
>>*most* parsimonious tree?
>Tom DiBenedetto wrote:
>The least parsimonious trees has the most ad hoc statements,
>essentially no grouping hypotheses,,i.e. an unresolved bush. It says
>nothing, so it seems to me to be the least bold.

        Wait a minute - did I miss something here?  I thought boldness was
a function of probability such that "statement boldness" is the inverse of
its likelihood (i.e. a "very bold" statement is one that is not very likely
[sic]).  This definition makes sense to me when I imagine the intestinal
fortitude required to stand in front of my peers and suggest that a bush
(unresolved polytomy) is actually the best estimate of phylogenetic
relationships for the group.  Now *that's* a bold statement.  Or maybe this
is a different kind of "boldness" (lunacy)?

Byron J. Adams
Department of Plant Pathology
406 Plant Sciences Hall
P.O. Box 830722
Lincoln, NE 68583-0722
lab (402) 472 5598
fax (402) 472-2853

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