On the Uniqueness of the Selection Criterion in Neighbor-Joining
The Neighbor-Joining (NJ) method of Saitou and Nei is the most widely used distance based method in phylogenetic analysis. Central to the method is the selection criterion, the formula used to choose which pair of objects to amalgamate next. Here we analyze the NJ selection criterion using an axiomatic approach. We show that any selection criterion that is linear, permutation equivariant, statistically consistent and based solely on distance data will give the same trees as those created by NJ.
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