Joe Felsenstein joe at GENETICS.WASHINGTON.EDU
Tue Apr 20 06:17:36 EST 1993

Bernard Baum wanted to know whether I thought distance methods (for
reconstructing phylogenies) were "cladistic:

If "cladistic" refers to a position on classification, it has a distinct
meaning (make only monophyletic groups -- "holophyletic" in Ashlock's
terminology).  But the decision to use distance methods, as opposed to
parsimony (or other approaches) does not say anything
about how one takes the resulting phylogenies and makes them into
classifications.  So in the sense of classification, they are neither
"cladistic" nor "phenetic" nor "evolutionary systematic".

The other meaning of "cladistic" refers to methods for inferring
phylogenies.  There it means "a method approved of by J. S. Farris".
By this definition, distance methods are not cladistic.

Some people think "cladistic" in phylogenies means using the essential
information and not obscuring it with noise.  In that sense no method
is cladistic, or else they all are.

Joe Felsenstein, Dept. of Genetics, Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195
 Internet:         joe at genetics.washington.edu     (IP No.
 Bitnet/EARN:      felsenst at uwavm

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