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This article is part of the supplement: ACM Conference on Bioinformatics, Computational Biology and Biomedicine 2011

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Efficient path-based computations on pedigree graphs with compact encodings

Lei Yang*, En Cheng and Z Meral Özsoyoğlu

Author Affiliations

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA

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BMC Bioinformatics 2012, 13(Suppl 3):S14  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-13-S3-S14

Published: 21 March 2012


A pedigree is a diagram of family relationships, and it is often used to determine the mode of inheritance (dominant, recessive, etc.) of genetic diseases. Along with rapidly growing knowledge of genetics and accumulation of genealogy information, pedigree data is becoming increasingly important. In large pedigree graphs, path-based methods for efficiently computing genealogical measurements, such as inbreeding and kinship coefficients of individuals, depend on efficient identification and processing of paths. In this paper, we propose a new compact path encoding scheme on large pedigrees, accompanied by an efficient algorithm for identifying paths. We demonstrate the utilization of our proposed method by applying it to the inbreeding coefficient computation. We present time and space complexity analysis, and also manifest the efficiency of our method for evaluating inbreeding coefficients as compared to previous methods by experimental results using pedigree graphs with real and synthetic data. Both theoretical and experimental results demonstrate that our method is more scalable and efficient than previous methods in terms of time and space requirements.