Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 112–119 | Cite as

Estimating the Transition/Transversion Ratio from Independent Pairwise Comparisons with an Assumed Phylogeny

  • Andy  Purvis
  • Lindell  Bromham


A method is presented for estimating the transition/transversion ratio (TI/TV), based on phylogenetically independent comparisons. TI/TV is a parameter of some models used in phylogeny estimation intended to reflect the fact that nucleotide substitutions are not all equally likely. Previous attempts to estimate TI/TV have commonly faced three problems: (1) few taxa; (2) nonindependence among pairwise comparisons; and (3) multiple hits make the apparent TI/TV between two sequences decrease over time since their divergence, giving a misleading impression of relative substitution probabilities. We have made use of the time dependency, modeling how the observed TI/TV changes over time and extrapolating to estimate the ``instantaneous'' TI/TV—the relevant parameter for phylogenetic inference. To illustrate our method, TI/TV was estimated for two mammalian mitochondrial genes. For 26 pairs of cytochrome b sequences, the estimate of TI/TV was 5.5; 16 pairs of 12s rRNA yielded an estimate of 9.5. These estimates are higher than those given by the maximum likelihood method and than those obtained by averaging all possible pairwise comparisons (with or without a two-parameter correction for multiple substitutions). We discuss strengths, weaknesses, and further uses of our method.

Key words: Transition/transversion ratio — Independent comparisons — Phylogeny — Cytochrome b — 12s rRNA — Mammals 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andy  Purvis
    • 1
  • Lindell  Bromham
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PS, United KingdomGB

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