Checking Consistency of Pedigree Information is NP-complete (Preliminary Report)

Luca Aceto
Jens A. Hansen
Anna Ingólfsdóttir
Jacob Johnsen
John Knudsen

October 2002


Consistency checking is a fundamental computational problem in genetics. Given a pedigree and information on the genotypes of some of the individuals in it, the aim of consistency checking is to determine whether these data are consistent with the classic Mendelian laws of inheritance. This problem arose originally from the geneticists' need to filter their input data from erroneous information, and is well motivated from both a biological and a sociological viewpoint. This paper shows that consistency checking is NP-complete, even in the presence of three alleles. Several other results on the computational complexity of problems from genetics that are related to consistency checking are also offered. In particular, it is shown that checking the consistency of pedigrees over two alleles can be done in polynomial time

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