Covariance of maximum likelihood evolutionary distances between sequences aligned pairwise

Christophe Dessimoz & Manuel Gil
Background The estimation of a distance between two biological sequences is a fundamental process in molecular evolution. It is usually performed by maximum likelihood (ML) on characters aligned either pairwise or jointly in a multiple sequence alignment (MSA). Estimators for the covariance of pairs from an MSA are known, but we are not aware of any solution for cases of pairs aligned independently. In large-scale analyses, it may be too costly to compute MSAs every...
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