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Reduction, alignment and visualisation of large diverse sequence families

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journal contribution
posted on 02.10.2020 by William R Taylor
BACKGROUND: Current volumes of sequence data can lead to large numbers of hits identified on a search, typically in the range of 10s to 100s of thousands. It is often quite difficult to tell from these raw results whether the search has been a success or has picked-up sequences with little or no relationship to the query. The best approach to this problem is to cluster and align the resulting families, however, existing methods concentrate on fast clustering and either do not align the sequences or only perform a limited alignment. RESULTS: A method (MULSEL) is presented that combines fast peptide-based pre-sorting with a following cascade of mini-alignments, each of which are generated with a robust profile/profile method. From these mini-alignments, a representative sequence is selected, based on a variety of intrinsic and user-specified criteria that are combined to produce the sequence collection for the next cycle of alignment. For moderate sized sequence collections (10s of thousands) the method executes on a laptop computer within seconds or minutes. CONCLUSIONS: MULSEL bridges a gap between fast clustering methods and slower multiple sequence alignment methods and provides a seamless transition from one to the other. Furthermore, it presents the resulting reduced family in a graphical manner that makes it clear if family members have been misaligned or if there are sequences present that appear inconsistent.