Computing the Quartet Distance between Evolutionary Trees in Time O(n log n)
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Evolutionary trees describing the relationship for a set of species are central in evolutionary biology, and quantifying differences between evolutionary trees is therefore an important task. The quartet distance is a distance measure between trees previously proposed by Estabrook, McMorris, and Meacham. The quartet distance between two unrooted evolutionary trees is the number of quartet topology differences between the two trees, where a quartet topology is the topological subtree induced by four species. In this paper we present an algorithm for computing the quartet distance between two unrooted evolutionary trees of n species, where all internal nodes have degree three, in time O(n log n. The previous best algorithm for the problem uses time O(n 2).
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