Pedigree Reconstruction Using Identity by Descent

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

23 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1481-1493
Journal / PublicationJournal of Computational Biology
Issue number11
Online published10 Nov 2011
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


Can we find the family trees, or pedigrees, that relate the haplotypes of a group of individuals? Collecting the genealogical information for how individuals are related is a very time-consuming and expensive process. Methods for automating the construction of pedigrees could stream-line this process. While constructing single-generation families is relatively easy given whole genome data, reconstructing multi-generational, possibly inbred, pedigrees is much more challenging. This article addresses the important question of reconstructing monogamous, regular pedigrees, where pedigrees are regular when individuals mate only with other individuals at the same generation. This article introduces two multi-generational pedigree reconstruction methods: one for inbreeding relationships and one for outbreeding relationships. In contrast to previous methods that focused on the independent estimation of relationship distances between every pair of typed individuals, here we present methods that aim at the reconstruction of the entire pedigree. We show that both our methods out-perform the state-of-the-art and that the outbreeding method is capable of reconstructing pedigrees at least six generations back in time with high accuracy. The two programs are available at

Research Area(s)

  • algorithms, combinatorial optimization, genetic analysis, genetic variation, machine learning

Citation Format(s)

Pedigree Reconstruction Using Identity by Descent. / KIRKPATRICK, BONNIE; LI, SHUAI CHENG; KARP, RICHARD M. et al.
In: Journal of Computational Biology, Vol. 18, No. 11, 11.2011, p. 1481-1493.

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review