Evaluating High-Throughput Ab Initio Gene Finders to Discover Proteins Encoded in Eukaryotic Pathogen Genomes Missed by Laboratory Techniques
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Next generation sequencing technology is advancing genome sequencing at an unprecedented level. By unravelling the code within a pathogen's genome, every possible protein (prior to post-translational modifications) can theoretically be discovered, irrespective of life cycle stages and environmental stimuli. Now more than ever there is a great need for high-throughput ab initio gene finding. Ab initio gene finders use statistical models to predict genes and their exon-intron structures from the genome sequence alone. This paper evaluates whether existing ab initio gene finders can effectively predict genes to deduce proteins that have presently missed capture by laboratory techniques. An aim here is to identify possible patterns of prediction inaccuracies for gene finders as a whole irrespective of the target pathogen. All currently available ab initio gene finders are considered in the evaluation but only four fulfil high-throughput capability: AUGUSTUS, GeneMark_hmm, GlimmerHMM, and SNAP. These gene finders require training data specific to a target pathogen and consequently the evaluation results are inextricably linked to the availability and quality of the data. The pathogen, Toxoplasma gondii, is used to illustrate the evaluation methods. The results support current opinion that predicted exons by ab initio gene finders are inaccurate in the absence of experimental evidence. However, the results reveal some patterns of inaccuracy that are common to all gene finders and these inaccuracies may provide a focus area for future gene finder developers. © 2012 Goodswen et al.
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