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Gene. 2005 Feb 14;346:173-85.

The spectrum of genomic signatures: from dinucleotides to chaos game representation.

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Department of Computer Science, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5B7.


In the post genomic era, access to complete genome sequence data for numerous diverse species has opened multiple avenues for examining and comparing primary DNA sequence organization of entire genomes. Previously, the concept of a genomic signature was introduced with the observation of species-type specific Dinucleotide Relative Abundance Profiles (DRAPs); dinucleotides were identified as the subsequences with the greatest bias in representation in a majority of genomes. Herein, we demonstrate that DRAP is one particular genomic signature contained within a broader spectrum of signatures. Within this spectrum, an alternative genomic signature, Chaos Game Representation (CGR), provides a unique visualization of patterns in sequence organization. A genomic signature is associated with a particular integer order or subsequence length that represents a measure of the resolution or granularity in the analysis of primary DNA sequence organization. We quantitatively explore the organizational information provided by genomic signatures of different orders through different distance measures, including a novel Image Distance. The Image Distance and other existing distance measures are evaluated by comparing the phylogenetic trees they generate for 26 complete mitochondrial genomes from a diversity of species. The phylogenetic tree generated by the Image Distance is compatible with the known relatedness of species. Quantitative evaluation of the spectrum of genomic signatures may be used to ultimately gain insight into the determinants and biological relevance of the genome signatures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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