Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


World’s fastest algorithm for recognising regular DNA sequences


The mathematical algorithm jointly developed by EURAC and the University of Bolzano (unibz) now permits exceptionally rapid recognition of regular DNA sequences: the previously required time of 20 days is reduced to just 5 hours under the new method.

Its efficiency and methodological rigour has now led the algorithm to be incorporated in the world’s most widely-used DNA-analysis software. This momentous scientific breakthrough is the work of Daniel Taliun: today at the faculty of Computer Science of the Free University of Bolzano he discussed his doctoral thesis in information technology, completed at the EURAC Center for Biomedicine.

DNA is made up of 3 billion bases, or letters, with the sequence formed of stable segments interspersed with breakpoints. Stable segments are inherited as a single block, while the breaks allow successive sequences to recombine in new ways, ensuring genetic variation between people.

The rapid recognition of regular sequences is of great value as it allows for much more straightforward representation of DNA and for greater precision and speed in identifying those areas of DNA associated with disease. The method developed by Daniel Taliun at the EURAC’s Center for Biomedicine and University of Bolzano is of great assistance in this field; the new algorithm processes the entire DNA in 1% of the time previously required, down from 20 days to just 5 hours.

“The results caught the attention of the leaders of PLINK, the most widely-used software at global level for genetic data analysis, who asked us if they could integrate our algorithm into their program,” explains Cristian Pattaro, head of the biostatistics group at EURAC’s Center for Biomedicine and the research group’s specialist on aspects related to genetics and biostatistics.

“This project combines mathematics with information technology and genetics and has merged the skill sets of two organisations. The University of Bolzano and EURAC have applied their areas of specialisation to achieve a level of excellence that has seen us both working outside of our usual fields of research,” says Johann Gamper, professor at the Faculty of Computer Science of the University of Bolzano and supervisor of Daniel’s PhD course.

The new algorithm can be applied both in the analysis of the genetic causes of disease and in population genetics. In disease analysis, the recognition of regular DNA segments allows for greater precision in the search for genetic variations associated with illness in that it allows the examination to be narrowed down to a smaller segment.

In population genetics, on the other hand, the recognition of a succession of regular sequences and breakpoints provides information on the study of background genetics, as we have seen that these successions are relatively stable within a single population but may alter between differing populations.

Daniel Taliun returned to Bolzano from the United States for his doctoral viva. “The results of the research have achieved great resonance internationally, and this has led me to obtain a post as researcher at the Department of Biostatistics of the University of Michigan, one of the world’s leading centres,” concludes Daniel – now Doctor – Taliun who, in developing his algorithm, formulated and demonstrated new mathematical theorems.

Stefanie Gius | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>