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We explore the maximum parsimony (MP) and ancestral maximum likelihood (AML) criteria in phylogenetic tree reconstruction. Both problems are NP-hard, so we seek approximate solutions. We formulate the two problems as Steiner tree problems under appropriate distances. The gist of our approach is the succinct characterization of Steiner trees for a small number of leaves for the two distances. This enables the use of known Steiner tree approximation algorithms. The approach leads to a 16/9 approximation ratio for AML and asymptotically to a 1.55 approximation ratio for MP.
Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, IEEE/ACM Transactions on (Volume:7 , Issue: 1 )
Date of Publication: Jan.-March 2010