Reconstructible phylogenetic networks: do not distinguish the indistinguishable.
Bottom Line:
This identifiability problem is partially solved by accounting for branch lengths, although this merely reduces the frequency of the problem.For any given set of indistinguishable networks, we define a canonical network that, under mild assumptions, is unique and thus representative of the entire set.While on the methodological side this will imply a drastic reduction of the solution space in network inference, for the study of reticulate evolution this is a fundamental limitation that will require an important change of perspective when interpreting phylogenetic networks.
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Affiliation: Laboratoire d'Informatique, de Robotique et de Microélectronique de Montpellier (LIRMM, UMR 5506) CNRS, Université de Montpellier, France; Institut de Biologie Computationnelle, Montpellier, France.
ABSTRACT
Phylogenetic networks represent the evolution of organisms that have undergone reticulate events, such as recombination, hybrid speciation or lateral gene transfer. An important way to interpret a phylogenetic network is in terms of the trees it displays, which represent all the possible histories of the characters carried by the organisms in the network. Interestingly, however, different networks may display exactly the same set of trees, an observation that poses a problem for network reconstruction: from the perspective of many inference methods such networks are "indistinguishable". This is true for all methods that evaluate a phylogenetic network solely on the basis of how well the displayed trees fit the available data, including all methods based on input data consisting of clades, triples, quartets, or trees with any number of taxa, and also sequence-based approaches such as popular formalisations of maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood for networks. This identifiability problem is partially solved by accounting for branch lengths, although this merely reduces the frequency of the problem. Here we propose that network inference methods should only attempt to reconstruct what they can uniquely identify. To this end, we introduce a novel definition of what constitutes a uniquely reconstructible network. For any given set of indistinguishable networks, we define a canonical network that, under mild assumptions, is unique and thus representative of the entire set. Given data that underwent reticulate evolution, only the canonical form of the underlying phylogenetic network can be uniquely reconstructed. While on the methodological side this will imply a drastic reduction of the solution space in network inference, for the study of reticulate evolution this is a fundamental limitation that will require an important change of perspective when interpreting phylogenetic networks. No MeSH data available. Related in: MedlinePlus |
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Mentions: On the other hand, the NELP property does not hold for phylogenetic networks where edge lengths are taken to represent time. For these networks, canonical forms may not be unique (see Fig. 10 for an example of this). Even in this case, we believe that inference methods should only consider phylogenetic networks in their canonical form, as this allows to reduce the solution space without any loss in “expressive power”: since every network N has (at least one) canonical form that displays exactly the same set of trees—and therefore has the same fit with the data as N—restricting the solution space to canonical forms always leaves at least one optimal network within this space. The real weakness of using canonical forms in a molecular clock context is that if a canonical form is not unique, then it cannot be considered representative of all the networks indistinguishable from it. As an example of this, consider the indistinguishable networks in Fig. 10: none of these is representative of all the others. |
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Affiliation: Laboratoire d'Informatique, de Robotique et de Microélectronique de Montpellier (LIRMM, UMR 5506) CNRS, Université de Montpellier, France; Institut de Biologie Computationnelle, Montpellier, France.
No MeSH data available.