[BiO BB] NJ distance matrix error (Phylip)

pmr at ebi.ac.uk pmr at ebi.ac.uk
Fri Nov 3 04:07:01 EST 2006

Samantha Fox wrote:
> wowww !!
> It was to do with length 10.. . I put in 2 extra spaces and it worked !!
> Such a popular and heavily used program having these kinds of errors !

"That's not a bug ... it's a feature"

It was also a good test for the EMBOSS version of phylip which gave an
error and still failed to decode the file. It has no ID length limit, but
was tripped up by the integers and the missing header line.

Phylip imposed the 10 character ID limit at a time when it was reasonable
as all the major databases had a maximum of 9 and it reather got frozen.
Removing it now would be sure to break someone else's data somewhere.

Bioinformatics is full of such quirks.

Glad it helped.


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