Ali RH, Muhammad SA, Arvestad L
BMC Evol Biol BMC Evolutionary Biology 16 (1) 120 [2016-06-04; online 2016-06-04]
Homology inference is pivotal to evolutionary biology and is primarily based on significant sequence similarity, which, in general, is a good indicator of homology. Algorithms have also been designed to utilize conservation in gene order as an indication of homologous regions. We have developed GenFamClust, a method based on quantification of both gene order conservation and sequence similarity. In this study, we validate GenFamClust by comparing it to well known homology inference algorithms on a synthetic dataset. We applied several popular clustering algorithms on homologs inferred by GenFamClust and other algorithms on a metazoan dataset and studied the outcomes. Accuracy, similarity, dependence, and other characteristics were investigated for gene families yielded by the clustering algorithms. GenFamClust was also applied to genes from a set of complete fungal genomes and gene families were inferred using clustering. The resulting gene families were compared with a manually curated gold standard of pillars from the Yeast Gene Order Browser. We found that the gene-order component of GenFamClust is simple, yet biologically realistic, and captures local synteny information for homologs. The study shows that GenFamClust is a more accurate, informed, and comprehensive pipeline to infer homologs and gene families than other commonly used homology and gene-family inference methods.