SplitsTree: analyzing and visualizing evolutionary data

Bioinformatics. 1998;14(1):68-73. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/14.1.68.


Motivation: Real evolutionary data often contain a number of different and sometimes conflicting phylogenetic signals, and thus do not always clearly support a unique tree. To address this problem, Bandelt and Dress (Adv. Math., 92, 47-05, 1992) developed the method of split decomposition. For ideal data, this method gives rise to a tree, whereas less ideal data are represented by a tree-like network that may indicate evidence for different and conflicting phylogenies.

Results: SplitsTree is an interactive program, for analyzing and visualizing evolutionary data, that implements this approach. It also supports a number of distances transformations, the computation of parsimony splits, spectral analysis and bootstrapping.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Evolution*
  • DNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Phylogeny*
  • Software*


  • DNA, Ribosomal