David J. States, Ron Cytron, Pankaj Agarwal and Hugh Chou
Institute for Biomedical Computing, Washington University in St. Louis. URL: http://ibc.wustl.edu email: email@example.com
Bayesian estimates for sequence similarity: There is an inherent relationship between the process of pairwise sequence alignment and the estimation of evolutionary distance. This relationship is explored and made explicit. Assuming an evolutionary model and given a specific pattern of observed base mismatches, the relative probabilities of evolution at each evolutionary distance are computed using a Bayesian framework. The mean or the median of this probability distribution provides a robust estimate of the central value. Bayesian estimates of the evolutionary distance incorporate arbitrary prior information about variable mutation rates both over time and along sequence position, thus requiring only a weak form of the molecular-clock hypothesis.
The endpoints of the similarity between genomic DNA sequences are often ambiguous. The probability of evolution at each evolutionary distance can be estimated over the entire set of alignments by choosing the best alignment at each distance and the corresponding probability of duplication at that evolutionary distance. A central value of this distribution provides a robust evolutionary distance estimate. We provide an efficient algorithm for computing the parametric alignment, considering evolutionary distance as the only parameter.
These techniques and estimates are used to infer the duplication history of the genomic sequence in C. elegans and in S. cerevisae. Our results indicate that repeats discovered using a single scoring matrix show a considerable bias in subsequent evolutionary distance estimates.
Model based sequence scoring metrics: PAM based DNA comparison metric has been extended to incorporate biases in nucleotide composition and mutation rates, extending earlier work (States, Gish and Altschul, 1993). A codon based scoring system has been developed that incorporates the effects biased codon utilization frequencies.
A dynamic programming algorithm has been developed that will optimally align sequences using a choice of comparison measures (non-coding vs. coding, etc.). We are in the process of evaluating this approach as a means for identifying likely coding regions in cDNA sequences.
Efficient sequence similarity search tools: Most sequence search tools have been designed for use with protein sequence queries a few hundred residues long. The analysis of genomic DNA sequence necessitates the use of queries hundreds of kilobases or even megabases in length. A memory and computationally efficient search tool has been developed for the identification of repeats and sequence similarity in very large segments of nucleic acid sequence. The tool implements optimal encoding of the word table, repeat filters, flexible scoring systems, and analytically parametrized search sensitivity. Output formats are designed for the presentation of genomic sequence searches.
Federated databases: A sybase server and mirror for GSDB are being developed to facilitate the annotation of repeat sequence elements in public data repositories.
Return to Table of Contents