23 October 2012

16:30

Charles Semple

Abstract

Results that say local information is enough to guarantee global information provide the theoretical underpinnings of many reconstruction algorithms in evolutionary biology. Such results include Buneman's Splits-Equivalence Theorem and the Tree-Metric Theorem. The first result says that, for a collection $\mathcal C$ of binary characters, pairwise compatibility is enough to guarantee compatibility for $\mathcal C$, that is, there is a phylogenetic (evolutionary) tree that realises $\mathcal C$. The second result says that, for a distance matrix $D$, if every $4\times 4$ distance submatrix of $D$ is realisable by an edge-weighted phylogenetic tree, then $D$ itself is realisable by such a tree. In this talk, we investigate these and other results of this type. Furthermore, we explore the closely-related task of determining how much information is enough to reconstruct the correct phylogenetic tree.