I would like to know how should I use a phylogenetic tree from an already published article, to put it on my own article so I can analyze the evolution of a trait. Is there any software I can use, or do I only have to "edit" the tree with a traditional image editing software?

I've seen that using trees from other authors is a common practice. Many times they summarize the trees. But no paper seems to tell you how they did it.

Thank you!!

  • $\begingroup$ Have you looked at the supplementary material? $\endgroup$
    – Remi.b
    Commented Jun 5, 2017 at 16:01
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    $\begingroup$ Can you explain what you mean be "use" the tree? Do you mean just getting the tree into a usable (e.g., Mesquite) format? Or do you mean do you have the right to use a published tree? $\endgroup$
    – kmm
    Commented Jun 5, 2017 at 16:27
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    $\begingroup$ If you'd like to reproduce the image, contact the publisher. If you'd like to reference the data in your analysis to publish, cite the author appropriately. If you'd like to obtain the raw data so you can do something with it, you can do what @Remi.b notes and check the supp. materials for a table or something, or you can contact the author, and cite the author. $\endgroup$
    – CKM
    Commented Jun 5, 2017 at 21:32
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks Remi.b and CMosychuk. My answer is more in the way that says CMosychuk, I mean that I would like to take a tree from the paper "A" and include it on my own paper "B". The tree from "A" will be modified to adapt to my analysis, for example by changing fonts, size, and adding images representing characters in some taxa. I do not mean to modify it on its structure, nodes, or distances. I do not know how to explain it better. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 6, 2017 at 16:40

1 Answer 1


I don't know how generalized this is, but some journals require the authors to deposit the trees in a database, like treebase. In this case, papers should indicate the accession numbers of their trees.

You then need the appropriate software to load the tree, manipulate it and print it, for instance ete.


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