A Comparison of Alternative Methods for Detecting Reticulation Events in Phylogenetic Analysis

  • Olivier Gauthier
  • François-Joseph Lapointe
Conference paper
Part of the Studies in Classification, Data Analysis, and Knowledge Organization book series (STUDIES CLASS)


A growing concern in phylogenetic analysis is our ability to detect events of reticulate evolution (e.g. hybridization) that deviate from the strictly branching pattern depicted by phylogenetic trees. Although algorithms for estimating networks rather than trees are available, no formal evaluation of their ability to detect actual reticulations has been performed. In this paper, we evaluate the performance of reticulograms and split decomposition graphs (or splitsgraphs) in the identification of known hybridization events in a phylogeny. Our results show that neither technique permits unambiguous identification of hybrids. We thus introduce a quartet-based approach used in combination with these two methods and show that quartet analysis of splitsgraphs lead to a near perfect identification of hybrids. We also suggest ways in which the reticulogram reconstruction algorithm could be improved.


Sister Taxon Hybridization Event Unambiguous Identification Hybrid Detection Phylogenetic Systematics 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olivier Gauthier
    • 1
  • François-Joseph Lapointe
    • 1
  1. 1.Département de sciences biologiquesUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada

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