UNIT 6.7 What If I Don't Have a Tree?: Split Decomposition and Related Models

  1. Daniel H. Huson

Published Online: 1 MAY 2003

DOI: 10.1002/0471250953.bi0607s01

Current Protocols in Bioinformatics

Current Protocols in Bioinformatics

How to Cite

Huson, D. H. 2003. What If I Don't Have a Tree?: Split Decomposition and Related Models. Current Protocols in Bioinformatics. 1:6.7:6.7.1–6.7.13.

Author Information

  1. Center for Bioinformatics Tübingen, Tübingen University, Tübingen, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 MAY 2003
  2. Published Print: MAR 2003


A set of aligned character sequences or a matrix of evolutionary distances often contains a number of different and sometimes conflicting phylogenetic signals, and thus does not always support a unique tree. The method of split decomposition addresses this problem. For ideal data, this method gives rise to a phylogenetic tree, whereas less ideal data are represented by a tree-like network that may indicate evidence of different and conflicting phylogenies. The SplitsTree program, described here, implements this approach and can be used to compute and visualize phylogenetic networks called splits graphs. It also implements a number of distance transformations, the computation of parsimony splits, spectral analysis and bootstrapping.