Similarity searches are an essential component to most bioinformatic applications. They form the bases of structural motif identification, gene identification, and insights into functional associations. With the rapid increase in the available genetic data through a wide variety of databases, similarity searches are an essential tool for accessing these data in an informative and productive way. In our chapter, we provide an overview of similarity searching approaches, related databases, and parameter options to achieve the best results for a variety of applications. We then provide a worked example and some notes for consideration. Homology detection is one of the most basic and fundamental problems at the heart of bioinformatics. It is central to problems currently under intense investigation in protein structure prediction, phylogenetic analyses, and computational drug development. Currently discriminative methods for homology detection, which are not readily interpretable, are substantially more powerful than their more interpretable counterparts, particularly when sequence identity is very low. Here I present a computational graph-based framework for homology inference using physiochemical amino acid properties which aims to both reduce the gap in accuracy between discriminative and generative methods and provide a framework for easily identifying the physiochemical basis for the structural similarity between proteins. The accuracy of my method slightly improves on the accuracy of PSI-BLAST, the most popular generative approach, and underscores the potential of this methodology given a more robust statistical foundation.



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Life Sciences; Biology



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similarity searching, fold recognition, homology modeling, sequence profiles, BLAST, sequence alignment, protein evolution, threading

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Biology Commons