Topological properties of phylogenetic trees in evolutionary models

M. Stich*, S.C. Manrubia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The extent to which evolutionary processes affect the shape of phylogenetic trees is an important open question. Analyses of small trees seem to detect non-trivial asymmetries which are usually ascribed to the presence of correlations in speciation rates. Many models used to construct phylogenetic trees have an algorithmic nature and are rarely biologically grounded. In this article, we analyze the topological properties of phylogenetic trees generated by different evolutionary models (populations of RNA sequences and a simple model with inheritance and mutation) and compare them with the trees produced by known uncorrelated models as the backward coalescent, paying special attention to large trees. Our results demonstrate that evolutionary parameters as mutation rate or selection pressure have a weak influence on the scaling behavior of the trees, while the size of phylogenies strongly affects measured scaling exponents. Within statistical errors, the topological properties of phylogenies generated by evolutionary models are compatible with those measured in balanced, uncorrelated trees.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-592
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Physical Journal B: Condensed Matter and Complex Systems
Issue number4
Early online date31 Jul 2009
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009


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