How independent are the appearances of n-mers in different genomes?

Yuriy Fofanov, Yi Luo, Charles Katili, Jim Wang, Yuri Belosludtsev, Thomas Powdrill, Chetan Belapurkar, Viacheslav Fofanov, Tong Bin Li, Sergey Chumakov, B. Montgomery Pettitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Motivation: Analysis of statistical properties of DNA sequences is important for evolutional biology as well as for DNA probe and PCR technologies. These technologies, in turn, can be used for organism identification, which implies applications in the diagnosis of infectious diseases, environmental studies, etc. Results: We present results of the correlation analysis of distributions of the presence/absence of short nucleotide subsequences of different length ('n-mers', n = 5 - 20) in more than 1500 microbial and virus genomes, together with five genomes of multicellular organisms (including human). We calculate whether a given n-mer is present or absent (frequency of presence) in a given genome, which is not the usually calculated number of appearances of n-mers in one or more genomes (frequency of appearance). For organisms that are not close relatives of each other, the presence/absence of different 7-20mers in their genomes are not correlated. For close biological relatives, some correlation of the presence of n-mers in this range appears, but is not as strong as expected. Suppressed correlations among the n-mers present in different genomes leads to the possibility of using random sets of n-mers (with appropriately chosen n) to discriminate genomes of different organisms and possibly individual genomes of the same species including human with a low probability of error.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2421-2428
Number of pages8
Issue number15
StatePublished - Oct 12 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computational Mathematics


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