Genome analysis with inter-nucleotide distances

Genome analysis with inter-nucleotide distances - Motivation: DNA sequences can be represented by sequences of four symbols, but it is often useful to convert the symbols into real or complex numbers for further analysis. Several mapping schemes have been used in the past, but they seem unrelated to any intrinsic characteristic of DNA. The objective of this work was to find a mapping scheme directly related to DNA characteristics and that would be useful in discriminating between different species. Mathematical models to explore DNA correlation structures may contribute to a better knowledge of the DNA and to find a concise DNA description.
Results: We developed a methodology to process DNA sequences based on inter-nucleotide distances. Our main contribution is a method to obtain genomic signatures for complete genomes, based on the inter-nucleotide distances, that are able to discriminate between different species. Using these signatures and hierarchical clustering, it is possible to build phylogenetic trees. Phylogenetic trees lead to genome differentiation and allow the inference of phylogenetic relations. The phylogenetic trees generated in this work display related species close to each other, suggesting that the inter-nucleotide distances are able to capture essential information about the genomes. To create the genomic signature, we construct a vector which describes the inter-nucleotide distance distribution of a complete genome and compare it with the reference distance distribution, which is the distribution of a sequence where the nucleotides are placed randomly and independently. It is the residual or relative error between the data and the reference distribution that is used to compare the DNA sequences of different organisms.