[Received October 2001. Final revision December 2003]

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We consider joint probability distributions generated recursively in terms of univariate conditional distributions satisfying conditional independence restrictions. The independences are captured by missing edges in a directed graph. A matrix form of such a graph, called the generating edge matrix, is triangular so the distributions that are generated over such graphs are called triangular systems. We study consequences of triangular systems after grouping or reordering of the variables for analyses as chain graph models, i.e. for alternative recursive factorizations of the given density using joint conditional distributions. For this we introduce families of linear triangular equations which do not require assumptions of distributional form. The strength of the associations that are implied by such linear families for chain graph models is derived. The edge matrices of chain graphs that are implied by any triangular system are obtained by appropriately transforming the generating edge matrix. It is shown how induced independences and dependences can be studied by graphs, by edge matrix calculations and via the properties of densities. Some ways of using the results are illustrated.