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Activity Number: 159 - New Statistical Methods in Phylogenetics
Type: Topic Contributed
Date/Time: Monday, July 30, 2018 : 10:30 AM to 12:20 PM
Sponsor: Biometrics Section
Abstract #329877 Presentation
Title: A starless bias in the maximum likelihood phylogenetic methods
Author(s): Xuhua Xia*
Companies: University of Ottawa
Keywords: maximum likelihood; molecular phylogenetics; distance-based phylogenetic method; starless bias; star-tree paradox

The maximum likelihood method is the gold standard in molecular phylogenetics and accounts for nearly half of all published phylogenetic trees, but the method has a strange phylogenetic bias so far not explored. If the aligned sequences are equidistant from each other with the true tree being a star tree, then the likelihood method is incapable of recovering it unless the sequences are either identical or extremely diverged. Here I analytically demonstrate this "starless" bias and identify the source for the bias. In contrast, distance-based methods (with the least-squares method for branch evaluation and either minimum evolution or least-squares criterion for choosing the best tree) do not have this bias. The finding sheds light on the star-tree paradox in Bayesian phylogenetic inference.

maximum likelihood, molecular phylogenetics, distance-based phylogenetic method, starless, star-tree paradox

Authors who are presenting talks have a * after their name.

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