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Evol Bioinform Online. 2015 Oct 13;11:213-21. doi: 10.4137/EBO.S28158. eCollection 2015.

Phylogenetic Trees and Networks Reduce to Phylogenies on Binary States: Does It Furnish an Explanation to the Robustness of Phylogenetic Trees against Lateral Transfers.

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La Colline, Saint-Blaise, Switzerland.
Université Grenoble Alpes, IPAG, Grenoble, France ; CNRS, IPAG, Grenoble, France.


This article presents an innovative approach to phylogenies based on the reduction of multistate characters to binary-state characters. We show that the reduction to binary characters' approach can be applied to both character- and distance-based phylogenies and provides a unifying framework to explain simply and intuitively the similarities and differences between distance- and character-based phylogenies. Building on these results, this article gives a possible explanation on why phylogenetic trees obtained from a distance matrix or a set of characters are often quite reasonable despite lateral transfers of genetic material between taxa. In the presence of lateral transfers, outer planar networks furnish a better description of evolution than phylogenetic trees. We present a polynomial-time reconstruction algorithm for perfect outer planar networks with a fixed number of states, characters, and lateral transfers.


lateral transfer; multistate characters; outer planar network; phylogenetic networks; phylogenetic trees

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