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On the minimum value of the Colless index and the bifurcating trees that achieve it
arXiv - CS - Discrete Mathematics Pub Date : 2019-07-11 , DOI: arxiv-1907.05064
Tomás M. Coronado; Mareike Fischer; Lina Herbst; Francesc Rosselló; Kristina Wicke

Measures of tree balance play an important role in the analysis of phylogenetic trees. One of the oldest and most popular indices in this regard is the Colless index for rooted bifurcating trees, introduced by Colless (1982). While many of its statistical properties under different probabilistic models for phylogenetic trees have already been established, little is known about its minimum value and the trees that achieve it. In this manuscript, we fill this gap in the literature. To begin with, we derive both recursive and closed expressions for the minimum Colless index of a tree with $n$ leaves. Surprisingly, these expressions show a connection between the minimum Colless index and the so-called Blancmange curve, a fractal curve. We then fully characterize the tree shapes that achieve this minimum value and we introduce both an algorithm to generate them and a recurrence to count them. After focusing on two extremal classes of trees with minimum Colless index (the maximally balanced trees and the greedy from the bottom trees), we conclude by showing that all trees with minimum Colless index also have minimum Sackin index, another popular balance index.
更新日期:2020-02-18

 

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