Quartet MaxCut: A fast algorithm for amalgamating quartet trees

Sagi Snir, Satish Rao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Accurate phylogenetic reconstruction methods are inherently computationally heavy and therefore are limited to relatively small numbers of taxa. Supertree construction is the task of amalgamating small trees over partial sets into a big tree over the complete taxa set. The need for fast and accurate supertree methods has become crucial due to the enormous number of new genomic sequences generated by modern technology and the desire to use them for classification purposes. In particular, the Assembling the Tree of Life (ATOL) program aims at constructing the evolutionary history of all living organisms on Earth. When dealing with unrooted trees, a quartet - an unrooted tree over four taxa - is the most basic piece of phylogenetic information. Therefore, quartet amalgamation stands at the heart of any supertree problem as it concerns combining many minimal pieces of information into a single, coherent, and more comprehensive piece of information. We have devised an extremely fast algorithm for quartet amalgamation and implemented it in a very efficient code. The new code can handle over a hundred millions of quartet trees over several hundreds of taxa with very high accuracy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • MaxCut
  • Phylogenetic reconstruction
  • Quartets
  • Supertree

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology


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