Encoding phylogenetic trees in terms of weighted quartets

Stefan Grünewald, Katharina T. Huber, Vincent Moulton, Charles Semple

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


One of the main problems in phylogenetics is to develop systematic methods for constructing evolutionary or phylogenetic trees. For a set of species X, an edge-weighted phylogenetic X-tree or phylogenetic tree is a (graph theoretical) tree with leaf set X and no degree 2 vertices, together with a map assigning a non-negative length to each edge of the tree. Within phylogenetics, several methods have been proposed for constructing such trees that work by trying to piece together quartet trees on X, i.e. phylogenetic trees each having four leaves in X. Hence, it is of interest to characterise when a collection of quartet trees corresponds to a (unique) phylogenetic tree. Recently, Dress and Erdös provided such a characterisation for binary phylogenetic trees, that is, phylogenetic trees all of whose internal vertices have degree 3. Here we provide a new characterisation for arbitrary phylogenetic trees.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-477
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Mathematical Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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