A Statistical Theory of Sequence Alignment with Gaps

Dirk Drasdo, Terence Hwa, and Michael Lässig

A statistical theory of local alignment algorithms with gaps is presented. Both the linear and logarithmic phases, as well as the phase transition separating the two phases, are described in a quantitative way. Markov sequences without mutual correlations are shown to have scale-invariant alignment statistics. Deviations from scale invariance indicate the presence of mutual correlations detectable by alignment algorithms. Conditions are obtained for the optimal detection of a class of mutual sequence correlations.

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