Annals of Combinatorics

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 409–423 | Cite as

On the Computational Complexity of the Rooted Subtree Prune and Regraft Distance

  • Magnus BordewichEmail author
  • Charles Semple
Original paper


The graph-theoretic operation of rooted subtree prune and regraft is increasingly being used as a tool for understanding and modelling reticulation events in evolutionary biology. In this paper, we show that computing the rooted subtree prune and regraft distance between two rooted binary phylogenetic trees on the same label set is NP-hard. This resolves a longstanding open problem. Furthermore, we show that this distance is fixed parameter tractable when parameterised by the distance between the two trees.

AMS Subject Classification.

05C05 92D15 


rooted phylogenetic tree rooted subtree prune and regraft 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of ComputingUniversity of LeedsLeedsUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Biomathematics Research Centre, Department of Mathematics and StatisticsUniversity of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand

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