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Bioinformatics. 2000 Mar;16(3):203-11.

Optimal spliced alignment of homologous cDNA to a genomic DNA template.

Author information

  • 1Department of Chemistry, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA Department of Zoology and Genetics, Iowa State University, 2112 Molecular Biology Building, Ames, IA 50011-3260, USA.



Supplementary cDNA or EST evidence is often decisive for discriminating between alternative gene predictions derived from computational sequence inspection by any of a number of requisite programs. Without additional experimental effort, this approach must rely on the occurrence of cognate ESTs for the gene under consideration in available, generally incomplete, EST collections for the given species. In some cases, particular exon assignments can be supported by sequence matching even if the cDNA or EST is produced from non-cognate genomic DNA, including different loci of a gene family or homologous loci from different species. However, marginally significant sequence matching alone can also be misleading. We sought to develop an algorithm that would simultaneously score for predicted intrinsic splice site strength and sequence matching between the genomic DNA template and a related cDNA or EST. In this case, weakly predicted splice sites may be chosen for the optimal scoring spliced alignment on the basis of surrounding sequence matching. Strongly predicted splice sites will enter the optimal spliced alignment even without strong sequence matching.


We designed a novel algorithm that produces the optimal spliced alignment of a genomic DNA with a cDNA or EST based on scoring for both sequence matching and intrinsic splice site strength. By example, we demonstrate that this combined approach appears to improve gene prediction accuracy compared with current methods that rely only on either search by content and signal or on sequence similarity.


The algorithm is available as a C subroutine and is implemented in the SplicePredictor and GeneSeqer programs. The source code is available via anonymous ftp from ftp. zmdb.iastate.edu. Both programs are also implemented as a Web service at http://gremlin1.zool.iastate.edu/cgi-bin/s p.cgiand http://gremlin1.zool.iastate.edu/cgi-bin/g s.cgi, respectively.



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