The powers and pitfalls of parsimony

Nature. 1993 Feb 18;361(6413):603-7. doi: 10.1038/361603a0.


Parsimony analysis is a powerful tool for the study of biological evolution. It is used to construct phylogenetic trees, to evaluate alternative hypotheses objectively, and to study evolutionary pattern and process. Yet, as comparative data sets expand, the pitfalls of parsimony analysis are catching experts and novices alike.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny*