Is this network proper forest-based?

Huber, Katharina T., van Iersel, Leo, Moulton, Vincent ORCID: and Scholz, Guillaume E. (2025) Is this network proper forest-based? Information Processing Letters, 187. ISSN 0020-0190

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In evolutionary biology, networks are becoming increasingly used to represent evolutionary histories for species that have undergone non-treelike or reticulate evolution. Such networks are essentially directed acyclic graphs with a leaf set that corresponds to a collection of species, and in which non-leaf vertices with indegree 1 correspond to speciation events and vertices with indegree greater than 1 correspond to reticulate events such as gene transfer. Recently forest-based networks have been introduced, which are essentially (multi-rooted) networks that can be formed by adding some arcs to a collection of phylogenetic trees (or phylogenetic forest), where each arc is added in such a way that its ends always lie in two different trees in the forest. In this paper, we consider the complexity of deciding whether a given network is proper forest-based, that is, whether it can be formed by adding arcs to some underlying phylogenetic forest which contains the same number of trees as there are roots in the network. More specifically, we show that it is NP-complete to decide whether a tree-child network with m roots is proper forest-based, for each m>=2. Moreover, for binary networks the problem remains NP-complete when m>=3 but becomes polynomial-time solvable for m=2. We also give a fixed parameter tractable (FPT) algorithm, with parameters the maximum outdegree of a vertex, the number of roots, and the number of indegree 2 vertices, for deciding if a semi-binary network is proper forest-based. A key element in proving our results is a new characterization for when a network with m roots is proper forest-based in terms of certain m-colorings.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Computing Sciences
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Computational Biology
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Norwich Epidemiology Centre
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Groups > Norwich Epidemiology Centre
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 07 May 2024 10:31
Last Modified: 13 May 2024 16:30
DOI: 10.1016/j.ipl.2024.106500


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