Phylogenetic supertrees: Assembling the trees of life

Michael J. Sanderson, Andy Purvis, Chris Henze

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

309 Scopus citations


Systematists and comparative biologists commonly want to make statements about relationships among taxa that have never been collectively included in any single phylogenetic analysis. Construction of phylogenetic 'supertrees' provides one solution. Supertrees are estimates of phylogeny assembled from sets of smaller estimates (source trees) sharing some but not necessarily all their taxa in common. If certain conditions are met, supertrees can retain all or most of the information from the source trees and also make novel statements about relationships of taxa that do not co-occur on any one source tree. Supertrees have commonly been constructed using subjective and informal approaches, but several explicit approaches have recently been proposed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-109
Number of pages5
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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