Journal of Classification

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 57–71 | Cite as

Invariants of phylogenies in a simple case with discrete states

  • James A. Cavender
  • Joseph Felsenstein


Under a simple model of transition between two states, we can work out the probabilities of different data outcomes in four species with any given phylogeny. For a given tree topology, if all characters are evolving under the same probabilistic model, there are two quadratic forms in the frequencies of outcomes that must be zero. It may be possible to test the null hypothesis that the tree is of a particular topology by testing whether these quadratic forms are zero. One of the tests is a test for independence in a simple 2×2 contingency table. If there are differences of evolutionary rate among characters, these quadratic forms will no longer necessarily be zero.


Phylogenies Statistical tests 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • James A. Cavender
    • 1
  • Joseph Felsenstein
    • 2
  1. 1.Martin Marietta Denver AerospaceDenver
  2. 2.Department of Genetics SK-50University of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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