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The approximability of the String Barcoding problem

Author(s): Lancia Giuseppe | Rizzi Romeo

Journal: Algorithms for Molecular Biology
ISSN 1748-7188

Volume: 1;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 12;
Date: 2006;
Original page

Abstract The String Barcoding (SBC) problem, introduced by Rash and Gusfield (RECOMB, 2002), consists in finding a minimum set of substrings that can be used to distinguish between all members of a set of given strings. In a computational biology context, the given strings represent a set of known viruses, while the substrings can be used as probes for an hybridization experiment via microarray. Eventually, one aims at the classification of new strings (unknown viruses) through the result of the hybridization experiment. In this paper we show that SBC is as hard to approximate as Set Cover. Furthermore, we show that the constrained version of SBC (with probes of bounded length) is also hard to approximate. These negative results are tight.

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