Exploring spaces of semi-directed level-1 networks

Simone Linz, Kristina Wicke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Semi-directed phylogenetic networks have recently emerged as a class of phylogenetic networks sitting between rooted (directed) and unrooted (undirected) phylogenetic networks as they contain both directed as well as undirected edges. While various spaces of rooted phylogenetic networks and unrooted phylogenetic networks have been analyzed in recent years and several rearrangement moves to traverse these spaces have been introduced, little is known about spaces of semi-directed phylogenetic networks. Here, we propose a simple rearrangement move for semi-directed phylogenetic networks, called cut edge transfer (CET), and show that the space of semi-directed level-1 networks with precisely k reticulations is connected under CET. This level-1 space is currently the predominantly used search space for most algorithms that reconstruct semi-directed phylogenetic networks. Our results imply that every semi-directed level-1 network with a fixed number of reticulations and leaf set can be reached from any other such network by a sequence of CETs. By introducing two additional moves, R + and R - , that allow for the addition and deletion, respectively, of a reticulation, we then establish connectedness for the space of all semi-directed level-1 networks on a fixed leaf set. As a byproduct of our results for semi-directed phylogenetic networks, we also show that the space of rooted level-1 networks with a fixed number of reticulations and leaf set is connected under CET, when translated into the rooted setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number70
JournalJournal of Mathematical Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Mathematics


  • Cut edge transfer
  • Level-1
  • Phylogenetic networks
  • Semi-directed networks


Dive into the research topics of 'Exploring spaces of semi-directed level-1 networks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this