Author(s): Reeves JH
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Abstract Several forms of maximum likelihood models are applied to aligned amino acid sequence data coded for in the mitochondrial DNA of six species (chicken, frog, human, bovine, mouse, and rat). These models range in form from relatively simple models of the type currently used for inferring phylogenetic tree structure to models more complex than those that have been used previously. No major discrepancies between the optimal trees inferred by any of these methods are found, but there are huge differences in adequacy of fit. A very significant finding is that the fit of any of these models is vastly improved by allowing a certain proportion of the amino acid sites to be invariant. An even more important, although disquieting, finding is that none of these models fits well, as judged by standard statistical criteria. The primary reason for this is that amino acid sites undergo substitution according to a process that is very heterogeneous. Because most phylogenetic inference is accomplished by choosing the optimal tree under the assumption that a homogeneous process is acting on the sites, the potential invalidity of some such conclusions is raised by this article's results. The seriousness of this problem depends upon the robustness of the phylogenetic inferential procedure to departures from the underlying model.
This article was published in J Mol Evol
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals