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Fast and sensitive alignment of large genomic sequences.

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  • 1Computer Science Department, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. brudno@CS.Stanford.EDU


Comparative analysis of syntenic genome sequences can be used to identify functional sites such as exons and regulatory elements. Here, the first step is to align two or several evolutionary related sequences and, in recent years, a number of computer programs have been developed for alignment of large genomic sequences. Some of these programs are extremely fast but often time-efficiency is achieved at the expense of sensitivity. One way of combining speed and sensitivity is to use an anchored-alignment approach. In a first step, a fast heuristic identifies a chain of strong sequence similarities that serve as anchor points. In a second step, regions between these anchor points are aligned using a slower but more sensitive method. We present CHAOS, a novel algorithm for rapid identification of chains of local sequence similarities among large genomic sequences. Similarities identified by CHAOS are used as anchor points to improve the running time of the DIALIGN alignment program. Systematic test runs show that this method can reduce the running time of DIALIGN by more than 93% while affecting the quality of the resulting alignments by only 1%. The source code for CHAOS is available at http://www.stanford.edu/~brudno/chaos/ An integrated program package containing CHAOS and DIALIGN is available at http://bibiserv.techfak.uni-bielefeld.de/dialign/

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