The computation of phylogenetic trees on the same set of species that are based on different orthologous genes can lead to incongruent trees. One possible explanation for this behavior are interspecific hybridization events recombining genes of different species. An important approach to analyze such events is the computation of hybridization networks.
This work presents the first algorithm computing the hybridization number as well as a set of representative hybridization networks for multiple binary phylogenetic input trees on the same set of taxa. To improve its practical runtime, we show how this algorithm can be parallelized. Moreover, we demonstrate the efficiency of the software Hybroscale, containing an implementation of our algorithm, by comparing it to PIRNv2.0, which is so far the best available software computing the exact hybridization number for multiple binary phylogenetic trees on the same set of taxa. The algorithm is part of the software Hybroscale, which was developed specifically for the investigation of hybridization networks including their computation and visualization. Hybroscale is freely available1 and runs on all three major operating systems.
Our simulation study indicates that our approach is on average 100 times faster than PIRNv2.0. Moreover, we show how Hybroscale improves the interpretation of the reported hybridization networks by adding certain features to its graphical representation.||