Theory in Biosciences

, Volume 123, Issue 4, pp 277–299 | Cite as

Reconstruction of the cophylogenetic history of related phylogenetic trees with divergence timing information

  • Daniel MerkleEmail author
  • Martin Middendorf


In this paper, we present a method and a corresponding tool called Tarzan for cophylogeny analysis of phylogenetic trees where the nodes are labelled with divergence timing information. The tool can be used for example to infer the common history of hosts and their parasites, of insect-plant relations or symbiotic relationships. Our method does the reconciliation analysis using an event-based concept where each event is assigned a cost and cost minimal solutions are sought. The events that are used by Tarzan are cospeciations, sortings, duplications, and (host) switches. Different from existing tools, Tarzan can handle more complex timing information of the phylogenetic trees for the analysis. This is important because several recent studies of cophylogenetic relationship have shown that timing information can be very important for the correct interpretation of results from cophylogenetic analysis. We present two examples (one host-parasite system and one insect-plant system) that show how divergence timing information can be integrated into reconciliation analysis and how this influences the results.


Reconciliation analysis Phylogeny Cospeciation Hosts Parasites 


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Copyright information

© Elsevier GmbH 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of LeipzigLeipzigGermany

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