BRANCH SUPPORT AND TREE STABILITY

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Abstract

Abstract— Branch support is quantified as the extra length needed to lose a branch in the consensus of near-most-parsimonious trees. This approach is based solely on the original data, as opposed to the data perturbation used in the bootstrap procedure. If trees have been generated by Farris's successive approximations approach to character weighting, branch support should be examined in terms of weighted extra length needed to lose a branch. The sum of all branch support values over the tree divided by the length of the most parsimonious tree[s] provides a new index, the total support index. This index is a measure of tree stability in terms of supported resolutions, which is of prime importance in cladistic analysis.

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