An Arrow-type result for inferring a species tree from gene trees

An Arrow-type result for inferring a species tree from gene trees
Mike Steel
(Submitted on 19 Jul 2013)

The reconstruction of a central tendency `species tree’ from a large number of conflicting gene trees is a central problem in systematic biology. Moreover, it becomes particularly problematic when taxon coverage is patchy, so that not all taxa are present in every gene tree. Here, we list four desirable properties that a method for estimating a species tree from gene trees should have. We show that while these can be achieved when taxon coverage is complete (by the Adams consensus method), they cannot all be satisfied in the more general setting of partial taxon coverage.

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