Forbidden Time Travel: Characterization of Time-Consistent Tree Reconciliation Maps

Authors Nikolai Nojgaard, Manuela Geiß, Daniel Merkle, Peter F. Stadler, Nicolas Wieseke, Marc Hellmuth

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Nikolai Nojgaard
Manuela Geiß
Daniel Merkle
Peter F. Stadler
Nicolas Wieseke
Marc Hellmuth

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Nikolai Nojgaard, Manuela Geiß, Daniel Merkle, Peter F. Stadler, Nicolas Wieseke, and Marc Hellmuth. Forbidden Time Travel: Characterization of Time-Consistent Tree Reconciliation Maps. In 17th International Workshop on Algorithms in Bioinformatics (WABI 2017). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 88, pp. 17:1-17:12, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2017)


Motivation: In the absence of horizontal gene transfer it is possible to reconstruct the history of gene families from empirically determined orthology relations, which are equivalent to event-labeled gene trees. Knowledge of the event labels considerably simplifies the problem of reconciling a gene tree T with a species trees S, relative to the reconciliation problem without prior knowledge of the event types. It is well-known that optimal reconciliations in the unlabeled case may violate time-consistency and thus are not biologically feasible. Here we investigate the mathematical structure of the event labeled reconciliation problem with horizontal transfer. Results: We investigate the issue of time-consistency for the event-labeled version of the reconciliation problem, provide a convenient axiomatic framework, and derive a complete characterization of time-consistent reconciliations. This characterization depends on certain weak conditions on the event-labeled gene trees that reflect conditions under which evolutionary events are observable at least in principle. We give an O(|V(T)|log(|V(S)|))-time algorithm to decide whether a time-consistent reconciliation map exists. It does not require the construction of explicit timing maps, but relies entirely on the comparably easy task of checking whether a small auxiliary graph is acyclic. The algorithms are implemented in C++ using the boost graph library and are freely available at Significance: The combinatorial characterization of time consistency and thus biologically feasible reconciliation is an important step towards the inference of gene family histories with hor- izontal transfer from orthology data, i.e., without presupposed gene and species trees. The fast algorithm to decide time consistency is useful in a broader context because it constitutes an attractive component for all tools that address tree reconciliation problems.
  • Tree Reconciliation
  • Horizontal Gene Transfer
  • Reconciliation Map
  • Time-Consistency
  • History of gene families


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