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Event Entry

What and Who

Identification of Horizontal Gene Transfer Events in Viruses

Saskia Metzler
Saarland University
PhD Application Talk
AG 1, AG 2, AG 3, AG 4, AG 5, SWS, RG1, MMCI  
Public Audience

Date, Time and Location

Monday, 19 May 2014
75 Minutes
E1 4


Viruses infect other organisms in order to replicate. They are highly diverse and can act as carriers of genetic material. Their close interaction with the host and their ability to switch between hosts, makes them a potential driving force of evolution: Both, donation of genetic material to the host and take-up from the host have been observed for different viral species.

We provide a method for the systematic identification of atypical genes within virus families. Genes that were subject of recent horizontal gene transfer are assumed to display the statistical features of the original genome rather than those of the genome in which they are observed. We present a one-class support vector machine approach to detect atypical genes within a virus family on the basis of their statistical signatures.

Evaluation of the approach on simulated data attests its capability to robustly identify alien genes. Tests on real data and comparison to literature confirm its value in practice. With the capability to rank genes from atypical to typical for a virus family, the algorithm provides a useful tool to identify the most promising candidates for horizontal gene transfer.


Jennifer Gerling
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Jennifer Gerling, 05/15/2014 11:17 -- Created document.