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On the maximum quartet distance between phylogenetic trees

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Abstract:

A conjecture of Bandelt and Dress states that the maximum quartet distance between any two phylogenetic trees on $n$ leaves is at most $(\frac 23 +o(1))\binom{n}{4}$. Using the machinery of flag algebras we improve the currently known bounds regarding this conjecture, in particular we show that the maximum is at most $(0.69 +o(1))\binom{n}{4}$. We also give further evidence that the conjecture is true by proving that the maximum distance between caterpillar trees is at most $(\frac 23 +o(1))\binom{n}{4}$.

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