Student Co-author

HMC Undergraduate

Document Type



Computer Science (HMC)

Publication Date




This paper describes the theory and implementation of a new software tool, called Jane, for the study of historical associations. This problem arises in parasitology (associations of hosts and parasites), molecular systematics (associations of orderings and genes), and biogeography (associations of regions and orderings). The underlying problem is that of reconciling pairs of trees subject to biologically plausible events and costs associated with these events. Existing software tools for this problem have strengths and limitations, and the new Jane tool described here provides functionality that complements existing tools.


The Jane software tool uses a polynomial time dynamic programming algorithm in conjunction with a genetic algorithm to find very good, and often optimal, solutions even for relatively large pairs of trees. The tool allows the user to provide rich timing information on both the host and parasite trees. In addition the user can limit host switch distance and specify multiple host switch costs by specifying regions in the host tree and costs for host switches between pairs of regions. Jane also provides a graphical user interface that allows the user to interactively experiment with modifications to the solutions found by the program.


Jane is shown to be a useful tool for cophylogenetic reconstruction. Its functionality complements existing tools and it is therefore likely to be of use to researchers in the areas of parasitology, molecular systematics, and biogeography.

Rights Information

© 2010 Chris Conow, Daniel Fielder, Yaniv Ovadia, Ran Libeskind-Hadas