Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 31, Issue 6, pp 511–523 | Cite as

A maximum likelihood approach to the detection of selection from a phylogeny

  • Brian Golding
  • Joe Felsenstein


A large amount of information is contained within the phylogentic relationships between species. In addition to their branching patterns it is also possible to examine other aspects of the biology of the species. The influence that deleterious selection might have is determined here. The likelihood of different phylogenies in the presence of selection is explored to determine the properties of such a likelihood surface. The calculation of likelihoods for a phylogeny in the presence and absence of selection, permits the application of a likelihood ratio test to search for selection. It is shown that even a single selected site can have a strong effect on the likelihood. The method is illustrated with an example fromDrosophila melanogaster and suggests that delerious selection may be acting on transposable elements.

Key words

Maximum likelihood Natural selection Phylogeny 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian Golding
    • 1
  • Joe Felsenstein
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyYork UniversityNorth YorkCanada
  2. 2.Department of GeneticsUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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