Asimpler and faster 1.5-approximation algorithm for sorting by transpositions

Tzvika Hartman, Ron Shamir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An important problem in genome rearrangements is sorting permutations by transpositions. The complexity of the problem is still open, and two rather complicated 1.5-approximation algorithms for sorting linear permutations are known (Bafna and Pevzner, 98 and Christie, 99). The fastest known algorithm is the quadratic algorithm of Bafna and Pevzner. In this paper, we observe that the problem of sorting circular permutations by transpositions is equivalent to the problem of sorting linear permutations by transpositions. Hence, all algorithms for sorting linear permutations by transpositions can be used to sort circular permutations. Our main result is a new O(n3/2√logn) 1.5-approximation algorithm, which is considerably simpler than the previous ones, and whose analysis is significantly less involved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-290
Number of pages16
JournalInformation and Computation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006


  • Computational biology
  • Genome rearrangements
  • Sorting permutations by transpositions


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