A distance-based model for convergent evolution

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Convergent evolution is an important process in which independent species evolve similar features usually over a long period of time. It occurs with many different species across the tree of life, and is often caused by the fact that species have to adapt to similar environmental niches. In this paper, we introduce and study properties of a distance-based model for convergent evolution in which we assume that two ancestral species converge for a certain period of time within a collection of species that have otherwise evolved according to an evolutionary clock. Under these assumptions it follows that we obtain a distance on the collection that is a modification of an ultrametric distance arising from an equidistant phylogenetic tree. As well as characterising when this modified distance is a tree metric, we give conditions in terms of the model’s parameters for when it is still possible to recover the underlying tree and also its height, even in case the modified distance is not a tree metric.
Original languageEnglish
Article number17
JournalJournal of Mathematical Biology
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2024


  • Convergent evolution
  • Equidistant tree
  • Tree metric
  • Triplet respecting metric
  • Ultrametric

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