Publications - Working papers

Please find below working papers of our group. Currently, we list 47 working papers. In the list are only not published papers present. If you look for a preprint of an already published paper you must look in the "Published papers" section. If you have problems accessing electronic information, please let us know:

©NOTICE: All working papers are copyrighted by the authors; If you would like to use all or a portion of any paper, please contact the author.

Phylogenetics Beyond Biology

Retzlaff, Nancy and Stadler, Peter F.



Theory in Biosciences. 1-11 (2018)


Evolutionary processes have been described not only in biology but also for a wide range of human cultural activities including languages and law. In contrast to the evolution of DNA or protein sequences, the detailed mechanisms giving rise to the observed evolution-like processes are not or only partially known. The absence of a mechanistic model of evolution implies that it remains unknown how the distances between different taxa have to be quantified. Considering distortions of metric distances we first show that poor choices of the distance measure can lead to incorrect phylogenetic trees. Based on the well-known fact that phylogenetic inference requires additive metrics we then show that the correct phylogeny can be computed from a distancematrix D if there is a monotonic, subadditive function $\zeta$ such that $\zeta^{-1}(D)$ is additive. The required metricpreserving transformation $\zeta$ can be computed as the solution of an optimization problem. This result shows that the problem of phylogeny reconstruction is well defined even if a detailed mechanistic model of the evolutionary process remains elusive.