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PLoS One. 2013 Oct 29;8(10):e77912. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0077912. eCollection 2013.

GenomeFingerprinter: the genome fingerprint and the universal genome fingerprint analysis for systematic comparative genomics.

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State Key Laboratory for Biocontrol, School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, P. R. China ; Allergy Research Branch, State Key Laboratory of Respiratory Disease, The Second Affiliated Hospital, Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou, P. R. China.



No attention has been paid on comparing a set of genome sequences crossing genetic components and biological categories with far divergence over large size range. We define it as the systematic comparative genomics and aim to develop the methodology.


First, we create a method, GenomeFingerprinter, to unambiguously produce a set of three-dimensional coordinates from a sequence, followed by one three-dimensional plot and six two-dimensional trajectory projections, to illustrate the genome fingerprint of a given genome sequence. Second, we develop a set of concepts and tools, and thereby establish a method called the universal genome fingerprint analysis (UGFA). Particularly, we define the total genetic component configuration (TGCC) (including chromosome, plasmid, and phage) for describing a strain as a systematic unit, the universal genome fingerprint map (UGFM) of TGCC for differentiating strains as a universal system, and the systematic comparative genomics (SCG) for comparing a set of genomes crossing genetic components and biological categories. Third, we construct a method of quantitative analysis to compare two genomes by using the outcome dataset of genome fingerprint analysis. Specifically, we define the geometric center and its geometric mean for a given genome fingerprint map, followed by the Euclidean distance, the differentiate rate, and the weighted differentiate rate to quantitatively describe the difference between two genomes of comparison. Moreover, we demonstrate the applications through case studies on various genome sequences, giving tremendous insights into the critical issues in microbial genomics and taxonomy.


We have created a method, GenomeFingerprinter, for rapidly computing, geometrically visualizing, intuitively comparing a set of genomes at genome fingerprint level, and hence established a method called the universal genome fingerprint analysis, as well as developed a method of quantitative analysis of the outcome dataset. These have set up the methodology of systematic comparative genomics based on the genome fingerprint analysis.

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