Lineage is a plugin that I made for Gephi. The plugin finds the ancestors and descendants for a given node in a directed graph. The user is asked to identify a source node by typing the node ID (this is not the same thing as the node label!). The plugin then runs and creates several variables:

  • IsOrigin: A boolean that indicates whether a node is the origin or not (this variable should only be true for the node selected by the user);
  • IsAncestor: A boolean that indicates whether a node is an ancestor of the origin node;
  • DistanceAncestor: An integer that indicates for ancestors how many edges lie between the ancestor and the origin (always a negative number).
  • IsDescendant: A boolean that indicates whether a nodes in a descendant of the origin node;
  • DistanceDescendant: An integer that indicates for descendants how many edges lie between the descendant and the origin (always a positive number);
  • Lineage: A string variable that indicates for each node in the network whether it is the “Origin”, an “Ancestor”, a “Descendant”, or “Unrelated”.

Running the plugin does not have an immediate visual effect, but the variables can be used as input for visualisation tools in Gephi. For example, The Lineage variable can be used for partition colouring, and the distance measures can be used to give gradient colours to nodes.

Since Gephi was updated to version 0.9, the plugin can only be found from within the Gephi program itself, as far as I know. However, there should be a new online market place at some point. To download the latest version of the plugin (for Gephi 0.9 and higher), run Gephi, enter the ‘Tools’ menu in the menu bar at the top, and click ‘Plugins’. The Lineage plugin should be in the list of available plugins, and can be installed from there. An older version of the plugin (for Gephi 0.8.2) is still available from the original Gephi Market Place if required. I recommend using the new version, but if you have good reasons for running Gephi 0.8.2, instead of the latest version, then the 0.8.2. version of the plugin can be downloaded and installed manually (download the .nbm file, go to the plugins menu within Gephi [see instructions above], select ‘Downloaded’, and then select the downloaded .nbm file).

Reference for this software:

Spekkink, W. (2014). Lineage [software]. Available from: