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J Comput Biol. 1998 Summer;5(2):279-305.

Approaches to the automatic discovery of patterns in biosequences.

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  • 1EMBL Outstation-Hinxton, European Bioinformatics Institute, Cambridge, UK.


This paper surveys approaches to the discovery of patterns in biosequences and places these approaches within a formal framework that systematises the types of patterns and the discovery algorithms. Patterns with expressive power in the class of regular languages are considered, and a classification of pattern languages in this class is developed, covering the patterns that are the most frequently used in molecular bioinformatics. A formulation is given of the problem of the automatic discovery of such patterns from a set of sequences, and an analysis is presented of the ways in which an assessment can be made of the significance of the discovered patterns. It is shown that the problem is related to problems studied in the field of machine learning. The major part of this paper comprises a review of a number of existing methods developed to solve the problem and how these relate to each other, focusing on the algorithms underlying the approaches. A comparison is given of the algorithms, and examples are given of patterns that have been discovered using the different methods.

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