Now showing 1 - 7 of 7
  • Publication
    Fast, scalable generation of high-quality protein multiple sequence alignments using Clustal Omega
    Multiple sequence alignments are fundamental to many sequence analysis methods. Most alignments are computed using the progressive alignment heuristic. These methods are starting to become a bottleneck in some analysis pipelines when faced with data sets of the size of many thousands of sequences. Some methods allow computation of larger data sets while sacrificing quality, and others produce high-quality alignments, but scale badly with the number of sequences. In this paper, we describe a new program called Clustal Omega, which can align virtually any number of protein sequences quickly and that delivers accurate alignments. The accuracy of the package on smaller test cases is similar to that of the high-quality aligners. On larger data sets, Clustal Omega outperforms other packages in terms of execution time and quality. Clustal Omega also has powerful features for adding sequences to and exploiting information in existing alignments, making use of the vast amount of precomputed information in public databases like Pfam.
      520Scopus© Citations 9036
  • Publication
    OD-seq: outlier detection in multiple sequence alignments
    (BMC Informatics, 2015-08-25) ; ;
    Background: Multiple sequence alignments (MSA) are widely used in sequence analysis for a variety of tasks. Outlier sequences can make downstream analyses unreliable or make the alignments less accurate while they are being constructed. This paper describes a simple method for automatically detecting outliers and accompanying software called OD-seq. It is based on finding sequences whose average distance to the rest of the sequences in a dataset, is anomalous. Results: The software can take a MSA, distance matrix or set of unaligned sequences as input. Outlier sequences are found by examining the average distance of each sequence to the rest. Anomalous average distances are then found using the interquartile range of the distribution of average distances or by bootstrapping them. The complexity of any analysis of a distance matrix is normally at least O(N2 ) for N sequences. This is prohibitive for large N but is reduced here by using the mBed algorithm from Clustal Omega. This reduces the complexity to O(N log(N)) which makes even very large alignments easy to analyse on a single core. We tested the ability of OD-seq to detect outliers using artificial test cases of sequences from Pfam families, seeded with sequences from other Pfam families. Using a MSA as input, OD-seq is able to detect outliers with very high sensitivity and specificity. Conclusion: OD-seq is a practical and simple method to detect outliers in MSAs. It can also detect outliers in sets of unaligned sequences, but with reduced accuracy. For medium sized alignments, of a few thousand sequences, it can detect outliers in a few seconds.
      292Scopus© Citations 23
  • Publication
    Making automated multiple alignments of very large numbers of protein sequences
    (Oxford University Press, 2013-02-21) ; ; ;
    Motivation: Recent developments in sequence alignment software have made possible multiple sequence alignments (MSAs) of >100 000 sequences in reasonable times. At present, there are no systematic analyses concerning the scalability of the alignment quality as the number of aligned sequences is increased. Results: We benchmarked a wide range of widely used MSA packages using a selection of protein families with some known structures and found that the accuracy of such alignments decreases markedly as the number of sequences grows. This is more or less true of all packages and protein families. The phenomenon is mostly due to the accumulation of alignment errors, rather than problems in guide-tree construction. This is partly alleviated by using iterative refinement or selectively adding sequences. The average accuracy of progressive methods by comparison with structure-based benchmarks can be improved by incorporating information derived from high-quality structural alignments of sequences with solved structures. This suggests that the availability of high quality curated alignments will have to complement algorithmic and/or software developments in the long-term.
      320Scopus© Citations 42
  • Publication
    Instability in progressive multiple sequence alignment algorithms
    Background: Progressive alignment is the standard approach used to align large numbers of sequences. As with all heuristics, this involves a trade off between alignment accuracy and computation time. Results: We examine this trade off and find that, because of a loss of information in the early steps of the approach, the alignments generated by the most common multiple sequence alignment programs are inherently unstable, and simply reversing the order of the sequences in the input file will cause a different alignment to be generated. Although this effect is more obvious with larger numbers of sequences, it can also be seen with data sets in the order of one hundred sequences. We also outline the means to determine the number of sequences in a data set beyond which the probability of instability will become more pronounced. Conclusions: This has major ramifications for both the designers of large-scale multiple sequence alignment algorithms, and for the users of these alignments.
      216Scopus© Citations 18
  • Publication
    Systematic exploration of guide-tree topology effects for small protein alignments
    Background: Guide-trees are used as part of an essential heuristic to enable the calculation of multiple sequence alignments. They have been the focus of much method development but there has been little effort at determining systematically, which guide-trees, if any, give the best alignments. Some guide-tree construction schemes are based on pair-wise distances amongst unaligned sequences. Others try to emulate an underlying evolutionary tree and involve various iteration methods. Results: We explore all possible guide-trees for a set of protein alignments of up to eight sequences. We find that pairwise distance based default guide-trees sometimes outperform evolutionary guide-trees, as measured by structure derived reference alignments. However, default guide-trees fall way short of the optimum attainable scores. On average chained guide-trees perform better than balanced ones but are not better than default guide-trees for small alignments. Conclusions: Alignment methods that use Consistency or hidden Markov models to make alignments are less susceptible to sub-optimal guide-trees than simpler methods, that basically use conventional sequence alignment between profiles. The latter appear to be affected positively by evolutionary based guide-trees for difficult alignments and negatively for easy alignments. One phylogeny aware alignment program can strongly discriminate between good and bad guide-trees. The results for randomly chained guide-trees improve with the number of sequences.
      319Scopus© Citations 10
  • Publication
    A Complete Analysis of HA and NA Genes of Influenza A Viruses
    Background: More and more nucleotide sequences of type A influenza virus are available in public databases. Although these sequences have been the focus of many molecular epidemiological and phylogenetic analyses, most studies only deal with a few representative sequences. In this paper, we present a complete analysis of all Haemagglutinin (HA) and Neuraminidase (NA) gene sequences available to allow large scale analyses of the evolution and epidemiology of type A influenza. Methodology/Principal Findings: This paper describes an analysis and complete classification of all HA and NA gene sequences available in public databases using multivariate and phylogenetic methods.Conclusions/Significance: We analyzed 18975 HA sequences and divided them into 280 subgroups according to multivariate and phylogenetic analyses. Similarly, we divided 11362 NA sequences into 202 subgroups. Compared to previous analyses, this work is more detailed and comprehensive, especially for the bigger datasets. Therefore, it can be used to show the full and complex phylogenetic diversity and provides a framework for studying the molecular evolution and epidemiology of type A influenza virus. For more than 85% of type A influenza HA and NA sequences into GenBank, they are categorized in one unambiguous and unique group. Therefore, our results are a kind of genetic and phylogenetic annotation for influenza HA and NA sequences. In addition, sequences of swine influenza viruses come from 56 HA and 45 NA subgroups. Most of these subgroups also include viruses from other hosts indicating cross species transmission of the viruses between pigs and other hosts. Furthermore, the phylogenetic diversity of swine influenza viruses from Eurasia is greater than that of North American strains and both of them are becoming more diverse. Apart from viruses from human, pigs, birds and horses, viruses from other species show very low phylogenetic diversity. This might indicate that viruses have not become established in these species. Based on current evidence, there is no simple pattern of inter-hemisphere transmission of avian influenza viruses and it appears to happen sporadically. However, for H6 subtype avian influenza viruses, such transmissions might have happened very frequently and multiple and bidirectional transmission events might exist.
      310Scopus© Citations 33
  • Publication
    Sequence embedding for fast construction of guide trees for multiple sequence alignment
    The most widely used multiple sequence alignment methods require sequences to be clustered as an initial step. Most sequence clustering methods require a full distance matrix to be computed between all pairs of sequences. This requires memory and time proportional to N2 for N sequences. When N grows larger than 10,000 or so, this becomes increasingly prohibitive and can form a significant barrier to carrying out very large multiple alignments. In this paper, we have tested variations on a class of embedding methods that have been designed for clustering large numbers of complex objects where the individual distance calculations are expensive. These methods involve embedding the sequences in a space where the similarities within a set of sequences can be closely approximated without having to compute all pair-wise distances. We show how this approach greatly reduces computation time and memory requirements for clustering large numbers of sequences and demonstrate the quality of the clusterings by benchmarking them as guide trees for multiple alignment. Source code is available for download from
      254Scopus© Citations 82