Improved Maximum Parsimony Models for Phylogenetic Networks

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Abstract

Phylogenetic networks are well suited to represent evolutionary histories comprising reticulate evolution. Several methods aiming at reconstructing explicit phylogenetic networks have been developed in the last two decades. In this article, we propose a new definition of maximum parsimony for phylogenetic networks that permits to model biological scenarios that cannot be modeled by the definitions currently present in the literature (namely, the “hardwired” and “softwired” parsimony). Building on this new definition, we provide several algorithmic results that lay the foundations for new parsimony-based methods for phylogenetic network reconstruction.

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