The success in obtaining complete sequences of DNA of some species has encouraged the search for new computational techniques for the analysis of such huge amount of information. One hopes that the results of this research could be applied for the development of new medicines, increasing food crops productivity, better understanding of the evolutionary process in live beings, among other applications. One technique for the genome analysis is the comparison of DNA (or RNA) sequences from different species. Such a comparison may reveal the similarities and differences between the genomes, which could be used in phylogeny reconstruction for instance. Two genomes can be compared by the analysis of their differences based on mutational events called genome rearrangements. The genome rearrangement problem (also called a sorting problem) consists of finding a minimum sequence of rearrangement events that transforms one genome into another and the number of rearrangement events in the sequence is called the genomic distance. In the classical formalismfor genome rearrangements, a genome is usually modeled by a set of sequences of integers. Each integer represents a gene and its sign stands for the orientation of the gene in the genome. The genome rearrangement problem in this model is analyzed generally with tools such as diagrams and graphs that convey the properties of the genomes in the problem input. We use instead a new model for genome rearrangements proposed by Meidanis and Dias : the algebraic formalism. Instead of being based on the analysis of diagrams, the algebraic formalism uses permutations to model genomes and the results from permutation group theory for the analysis of the properties of genomes and the effects of rearrangement events. The motivation for the development of the algebraic formalism is the possibility of stating arguments more formally by means of algebraic methods than by using graphical resources as the classical formalism does. We hope that more efficient algorithms for genome rearrangement problems or simpler proofs for classical results in the area will be more easily found due to the development of a new formalism. We present a simple, efficient solution based on the algebraic formalism for two genome rearrangement problems (the problem of genome rearrangements by block-interchanges and signed reversals and the problem of genome rearrangements by fissions, fusions, and signed reversals). We also discuss and offer a solution for the problem of genome rearrangements by generalized transpositions. We believe that the success in solving those genome rearrangement problems could be extended to other problems by consolidating the fundamental concepts of the algebraic formalism. We hope that the reader will be convinced that the algebraic formalism is representative and powerful in dealing with circular chromosomes and modeling the assignment of weights to rearrangement events. On the other hand, we do not argue in favor of a substitution of the classical formalism by the algebraic formalism. Both of these formalisms could profit by a similar, even though on a smaller scale, success of the development of the Analytic Geometry and the Traditional Geometry.
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