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Bioinformatics. 2003 Mar 22;19(5):593-9.

The Z curve database: a graphic representation of genome sequences.

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  • 1Department of Physics, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, People's Republic of China.



Genome projects for many prokaryotic and eukaryotic species have been completed and more new genome projects are being underway currently. The availability of a large number of genomic sequences for researchers creates a need to find graphic tools to study genomes in a perceivable form. The Z curve is one of such tools available for visualizing genomes. The Z curve is a unique three-dimensional curve representation for a given DNA sequence in the sense that each can be uniquely reconstructed given the other. The Z curve database for more than 1000 genomes have been established here.


The database contains the Z curves for archaea, bacteria, eukaryota, organelles, phages, plasmids, viroids and viruses, whose genomic sequences are currently available. All the 3-dimensional Z curves and their three component curves are stored in the database. The applications of the Z curve database on comparative genomics, gene prediction, computation of G+C content with a windowless technique, prediction of replication origins and terminations of bacterial and archaeal genomes and study of local deviations from the Chargaff Parity Rule 2 etc. are presented in detail. The Z curve database reported here is a treasure trove in which biologists could find useful biological knowledge.

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