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Tripartitions in phylogenetic networks

Tuesday 4th September 2007 - 14:00 to 15:00
INI Seminar Room 1

Phylogenetic networks are a generalization of phylogenetic trees that allow for the representation of reticulate evolution events, like recombination, hybridization, and lateral gene transfer. In a recent series of papers devoted to the study of reconstructibility of phylogenetic networks, the well-known bipartition metric for phylogenetic trees was generalized to the so-called tripartition metric for phylogenetic networks. In this talk, we show that, in fact, this tripartition metric does not satisfy the separation axiom of distances (zero distance means isomorphism, or, in a more relaxed version, zero distance means indistinguishability in some specific sense) in any of the classes of phylogenetic networks where it is claimed to do so. We also present a class of phylogenetic networks whose members can be singled out by means of their sets of tripartitions, and hence, where the latter can be used to define a meaningful metric.

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University of Cambridge Research Councils UK
    Clay Mathematics Institute London Mathematical Society NM Rothschild and Sons