Estimation of the True Evolutionary Distance under the Fragile Breakage Model

Estimation of the True Evolutionary Distance under the Fragile Breakage Model
Nikita Alexeev, Max A. Alekseyev

The ability to estimate the evolutionary distance between extant genomes plays a crucial role in many phylogenomic studies. Often such estimation is based on the parsimony assumption, implying that the distance between two genomes can be estimated as the minimal number of genome rearrangements required to transform one genome into the other. However, in reality the parsimony assumption may not always hold, emphasizing the need for estimation that does not rely on the minimal number of genome rearrangements. While there exists a method for such estimation, it however assumes that genomes can be broken by rearrangements equally likely at any position in the course of evolution. This assumption, known as the random breakage model, has recently been refuted in favor of the more rigorous fragile breakage model postulating that only certain “fragile” genomic regions are prone to rearrangements. We propose a new method for estimating the evolutionary distance between two genomes with high accuracy under the fragile breakage model.

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