The Complexity of Checking Consistency of Pedigree Information and Related Problems

Luca Aceto
Jens Alsted Hansen
Anna Ingólfsdóttir
Jacob Johnsen
John Knudsen

March 2003


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 with focus on a single gene and 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, and of pedigrees without loops, can be done in polynomial time

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Last modified: 2003-06-08 by webmaster.