Evolutionary events such as incomplete lineage sorting and lateral gene transfers constitute major problems for inferring species trees from gene trees, as they can sometimes lead to gene trees which conflict with the underlying species tree. One particularly simple and efficient way to infer species trees from gene trees under such conditions is to combine three-taxon analyses for several genes using a majority vote approach. For incomplete lineage sorting this method is known to be statistically consistent; however, for lateral gene transfers it was recently shown that a zone of inconsistency exists for a specific four-taxon tree topology, and it was posed as an open question whether inconsistencies could exist for other four-taxon tree topologies? In this letter we analyze all remaining four-taxon topologies and show that no other inconsistencies exist.
Journal of Theoretical Biology, 2013, Vol 335, p. 295-298