BIRS Workshop Lecture Videos

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BIRS Workshop Lecture Videos

The importance of correlations in biology (opening lecture) (chairperson: Adam Liwo) Jernigan, Robert


The availability of large genome-related data provides the opportunity to extract sequence correlations. Already there have been huge advances in structure prediction and predictions of interactions by using information about the correlated pairs of amino acids in multiple sequence alignments. We have also been using this same type of information to improve sequence matching for the purpose of annotating genes and proteins for their function. We observe major gains in the specificities of function, estimated at nearly half of genes, in nearly all cases confirming the function assignments from BLAST/Blosum62 but providing significantly more useful information.

The denseness of biological systems would immediately suggest the importance of these pairs, and higher order correlations. Reliably extracting higher order correlations requires a larger set of data. Although the data is growing rapidly, success in obtaining the higher order correlations at present will require the integration of diverse sets of data.

The ultimate goal for such efforts is to understand the origin of specific phenomes and disease states, as well as the effects of mutations.

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