A New Implmentation and Detailed Study of Breakpoint Analysis


Phylogenies derived from gene order data may prove crucial in answering some fundamental open questions in biomolecular evolution. Yet very few techniques are available for such phylogenetic reconstructions. One method is breakpoint analysis, developed by Blanchette and Sankoff for solving the “breakpoint phylogeny.” Our earlier studies confirmed the usefulness of this approach, but also found that BPAnalysis, the implementation developed by Sankoff and Blanchette, was too slow to use on all but very small datasets. We report here on a reimplementation of BPAnalysis using the principles of algorithmic engineering. Our faster (by 2 to 3 orders of magnitude) and flexible implementation allowed us to conduct studies on the characteristics of breakpoint analysis, in terms of running time, quality, and robustness, as well as to analyze datasets that had so far been considered out of reach. We report on these findings and also discuss future directions for our new implementation.

Proceedings of the 6th Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing, PSB 2001, Big Island, Hawaii, January 3-7, 2001