"TreeBeST is an original tree builder for constrained neighbour-joining and tree merge, an efficient tool capable of duplication/loss/ortholog inference, and a versatile program facili- tating many tree-building routines, such as tree rooting, alignment filtering and tree plot- ting. TreeBeST stands for ‚Äò(gene) Tree Building guided by Species Tree‚Äô. It is previously known as NJTREE as the first piece of codes of this project aimed to build a eighbour-joining tree.
TreeBeST is the core engine of TreeFam (Tree Families Database) project initiated by Richard Durbin. The basic idea of this project is to build a full tree constrained by a manually verified seed tree. The tree builder must know how to utilize the prior knowledge provided by human experts. This demand disqualifies any existing softwares. Given this fact, we devised a new algorithm to control the joining step of traditional neighbour-joining. This is origin the constrained neighbour-joining.
When trees are built, they are only meaningful to biologists. Computers generate trees, but they do not understand them. To understand gene trees, a computer must be equipped with some biological knowledges, the species tree. It will teach a computer how to discriminate a speciation from a duplication event and how to find orthologs, provided a correct gene tree.
Unfortunately, gene trees are not always correct. Since the advent of UPGMA algorithm in 1958, we have tried to find a ideal model for nearly half a century. But we failed. Evolution is so complex a thing. A model best fits in one lineage might mean a disaster in another. A unified model is far from being discovered. TreeBeST aims at improving the accuracy of tree building, but it does not try to set up a new model in a traditional way. Instead, it integrates two existing models with the help of species tree, finding the subtree that best fits the models and merging them together to build a new tree incorporating the advantages of the both. This is the tree algorithm." (treebest.pdf)