MRL and SuperFine MRL, New Supertree Methods
The estimation of evolutionary trees is one of the basic challenges in biology (Felsenstein 2003), but current methods have great difficulties with large datasets – often due to computational issues. For example, methods like maximum likelihood (ML) and maximum parsimony (MP) are highly accurate techniques when they can be properly run, but both are NP-hard (a technical term that has the consequence that exact algorithms are not likely to be found except through exhaustive search techniques). As a result, ML and MP analyses on large datasets either cannot be run at all, or take a very long time to run, or return poor results. Since most accounts of the number of species suggest that the Tree of Life itself will involve many millions of species, truly large-scale phylogenetic estimation is beyond the reach of current methods. Instead, an...
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