Algorithms for Gene Clustering Analysis on Genomes
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The increased availability of data in biological databases provides many opportunities for understanding biological processes through these data. As recent attention has shifted from sequence analysis to higher-level analysis of genes across multiple genomes, there is a need to develop efficient algorithms for these large-scale applications that can help us understand the functions of genes. The overall objective of my research was to develop improved methods which can automatically assign groups of functionally related genes in large-scale data sets by applying new gene clustering algorithms. Proposed gene clustering algorithms that can help us understand gene function and genome evolution include new algorithms for protein family classification, a window-based strategy for gene clustering on chromosomes, and an exhaustive strategy that allows all clusters of small size to be enumerated. I investigate the problems of gene clustering in multiple genomes, and define gene clustering problems using mathematical methodology and solve the problems by developing efficient and effective algorithms. For protein family classification, I developed two supervised classification algorithms that can assign proteins to existing protein families in public databases and, by taking into account similarities between the unclassified proteins, allows for progressive construction of new families from proteins that cannot be assigned. This approach is useful for rapid assignment of protein sequences from genome sequencing projects to protein families. A comparative analysis of the method to other previously developed methods shows that the algorithm has a higher accuracy rate and lower mis-classification rate when compared to algorithms that are based on the use of multiple sequence alignments and hidden Markov models. The proposed algorithm performs well even on families with very few proteins and on families with low sequence similarity. Apart from the analysis of individual sequences, identifying genomic regions that descended from a common ancestor helps us study gene function and genome evolution. In distantly related genomes, clusters of homologous gene pairs serve as evidence used in function prediction, operon detection, etc. Thus, reliable identification of gene clusters is critical to functional annotation and analysis of genes. I developed an efficient gene clustering algorithm that can be applied on hundreds of genomes at the same time. This approach allows for large-scale study of evolutionary relationships of gene clusters and study of operon formation and destruction. By placing a stricter limit on the maximum cluster size, I developed another algorithm that uses a different formulation based on constraining the overall size of a cluster and statistical estimates that allow direct comparisons of clusters of different size. A comparative analysis of proposed algorithms shows that more biological insight can be obtained by analyzing gene clusters across hundreds of genomes, which can help us understand operon occurrences, gene orientations and gene rearrangements.
Yi, Gang Man (2011). Algorithms for Gene Clustering Analysis on Genomes. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from