Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New approach to 'spell checking' gene sequences

Date:
May 21, 2012
Source:
CSIRO Australia
Summary:
Scientists have found a better way to 'spell check' gene sequences.

DNA fragments separated on a gel, a common fist step to gene sequencing.
Credit: Image courtesy of CSIRO Australia

A PhD student from CSIRO and the University of Queensland has found a better way to 'spell check' gene sequences and help biologists better understand the natural world.

The student, Lauren Bragg, has contributed to the May issue of the journal Nature Methods highlighting her new approach and its software implementation called Acacia.

Acacia analyses the output of next-generation gene sequencing instruments which read the four-letter alphabet of As, Cs, Ts and Gs -- the 'bases' that code for DNA and spell out the genes of different living organisms. Acacia specifically applies to important parts of microbe genes called amplicons.

Just as a computer spell checker finds typing errors in words, so Acacia finds errors in the DNA code of amplicon sequences produced during gene sequencing.

Acacia shows clear improvements over the two error-correction tools currently used by biologists for amplicon sequences and it's easier for biologists to use.

Ms Bragg's development of Acacia is part of the field of bioinformatics, a blend of computer science, statistics and biology. Despite her surname, however, she is modest about her achievements.

"It's exciting to be published in a journal like Nature Methods but I get more satisfaction from hearing how my software is helping biologists fix sequencing errors." she said.

Machine errors in the long lengths of A, C, G and T code can cause biologists to misinterpret which genes are there, or which microbial species might exist in a environmental samples from, say, a waste water treatment plant or from the ocean or even our guts.

Acacia works by using the statistical theory of likelihoods to analyze the code for DNA bases which may have been mistakenly added or deleted -- common errors in gene sequencing.

"The Nature article is our way of telling the international biology community that there's a new software tool they can use for error-correcting that's pretty easy to use, quick and reliable."

"That way, they won't think they've discovered a new microbe species when they haven't or overlooked one they should have found," she said.

The method, or algorithm, that Acacia uses took 18 months for Ms Bragg to fully develop and test.

Now it's nose to the grindstone to get the thesis done.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by CSIRO Australia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lauren Bragg, Glenn Stone, Michael Imelfort, Philip Hugenholtz, Gene W Tyson. Fast, accurate error-correction of amplicon pyrosequences using Acacia. Nature Methods, 2012; 9 (5): 425 DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.1990

Cite This Page:

CSIRO Australia. "New approach to 'spell checking' gene sequences." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120521104633.htm>.
CSIRO Australia. (2012, May 21). New approach to 'spell checking' gene sequences. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120521104633.htm
CSIRO Australia. "New approach to 'spell checking' gene sequences." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120521104633.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Newsy (Apr. 23, 2014) A Harvard University study suggests monkeys can use symbols to perform basic math calculations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur on Monday when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Drake University hosts 35th annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins