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Distribution and asymptotic behavior of the phylogenetic transfer distance

Abstract : The transfer distance (TD) was introduced in the classification framework and stud- ied in the context of phylogenetic tree matching. Recently, Lemoine et al. (Nature 556(7702):452–456, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0043-0) showed that TD can be a powerful tool to assess the branch support on large phylogenies, thus providing a relevant alternative to Felsenstein’s bootstrap. This distance allows a ref- erence branch β in a reference tree T to be compared to a branch b from another tree T (typically a bootstrap tree), both on the same set of n taxa. The TD between these branches is the number of taxa that must be transferred from one side of b to the other in order to obtain β. By taking the minimum TD from β to all branches in T we define the transfer index, denoted by φ(β, T ), measuring the degree of agreement of T with β. Let us consider a reference branch β having p tips on its light side and define thetransfersupport (TS)as1−φ(β,T)/(p−1).Lemoineetal.(2018)usedcom- puter simulations to show that the TS defined in this manner is close to 0 for random “bootstrap” trees. In this paper, we demonstrate that result mathematically: when T is randomly drawn, TS converges in probability to 0 when n tends to ∞. Moreover, we fully characterize the distribution of φ(β,T) on caterpillar trees, indicating that the convergence is fast, and that even when n is small, moderate levels of branch support cannot appear by chance.
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https://hal.utc.fr/hal-03228078
Contributor : Miraine Davila Felipe <>
Submitted on : Monday, May 17, 2021 - 6:18:56 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, May 18, 2021 - 9:20:49 AM

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Miraine Davila Felipe, Jean-Baka Domelevo Entfellner, Frédéric Lemoine, Jakub Truszkowski, Olivier Gascuel. Distribution and asymptotic behavior of the phylogenetic transfer distance. Journal of Mathematical Biology, Springer Verlag (Germany), 2019, 79 (2), pp.485-508. ⟨10.1007/s00285-019-01365-0⟩. ⟨hal-03228078⟩

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