Distributions of 4-subtree patterns for uniform random unrooted phylogenetic trees

Kwok Pui Choi, Gursharn Kaur, Ariadne Thompson, Taoyang Wu

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Tree shape statistics based on peripheral structures have been utilized to study evolutionary mechanisms and inference methods. Partially motivated by a recent study by Pouryahya and Sankoff on modeling the accumulation of subgenomes in the evolution of polyploids, we present the distribution of subtree patterns with four or fewer leaves for the unrooted Proportional to Distinguishable Arrangements (PDA) model. We derive a recursive formula for computing the joint distributions, as well as a Strong Law of Large Numbers and a Central Limit Theorem for the joint distributions. This enables us to confirm several conjectures proposed by Pouryahya and Sankoff, as well as provide some theoretical insights into their observations. Based on their empirical datasets, we demonstrate that the statistical test based on the joint distribution could be more sensitive than those based on one individual subtree pattern to detect the existence of evolutionary forces such as whole genome duplication.
Original languageEnglish
Article number111794
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Early online date20 Mar 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Mar 2024

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