Reconstructing pedigrees: a combinatorial perspective

J Theor Biol. 2006 Jun 7;240(3):360-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2005.09.026. Epub 2005 Dec 1.


A pedigree is a directed graph that displays the relationship between individuals according to their parentage. We derive a combinatorial result that shows how any pedigree-up to individuals who have no extant (present-day) ancestors-can be reconstructed from (sex-labelled) pedigrees that describe the ancestry of single extant individuals and pairs of extant individuals. Furthermore, this reconstruction can be done in polynomial time. We also provide an example to show that the corresponding reconstruction result does not hold for pedigrees that are not sex-labelled. We then show how any pedigree can also be reconstructed from two functions that just describe certain circuits in the pedigree. Finally, we obtain an enumeration result for pedigrees that is relevant to the question of how many segregating sites are needed to reconstruct pedigrees.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Genetics, Population
  • Genomics
  • Humans
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Pedigree*
  • Phylogeny
  • Sex