DOI: 10.1101/469130Nov 13, 2018Paper

Statistically consistent divide-and-conquer pipelines for phylogeny estimation using NJMerge

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Erin K Molloy, Tandy Warnow


Background Divide-and-conquer methods, which divide the species set into overlapping subsets, construct a tree on each subset, and then combine the subset trees using a supertree method, provide a key algorithmic framework for boosting the scalability of phylogeny estimation methods to large datasets. Yet the use of supertree methods, which typically attempt to solve NP-hard optimization problems, limits the scalability of such approaches. Results In this paper, we introduce a divide-and-conquer approach that does not require supertree estimation: we divide the species set into pairwise disjoint subsets, construct a tree on each subset using a base method, and then combine the subset trees using a distance matrix. For this merger step, we present a new method, called NJMerge, which is a polynomial-time extension of Neighbor Joining (NJ); thus, NJMerge can be viewed either as a method for improving traditional NJ or as a method for scaling the base method to larger datasets. We prove that NJMerge can be used to create divide-and-conquer pipelines that are statistically consistent under some models of evolution. We also report the results of an extensive simulation study evaluating NJMerge on multi-locus datasets with up to 1000...Continue Reading

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