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Getting it Straight

Bitesize Bio brings the basics to its how-to guide on sequence alignment. In this "beginner's guide" — which is to be the first in a series — Jason Garner writes that "those of us who have learned how to sequence know that aligning sequences is a lot easier and less time consuming than creating them."

Indeed, he writes that aligning hundreds or thousands of sequences can be done fairly easily as long as a proper algorithm is used. "I can usually align ~750 sequences of 1000 nucleotides each in about an hour using MUSCLE. For aligning a large number of sequences, you must have sufficient computer memory and storage," Garner says. He goes on to define "similarity" versus "identity" and "consensus sequence."

When it comes to determining the quality of an alignment, he says to remember it is "garbage in, garbage out" as much depends on the quality of the sequence data itself.

The Scan

Study Reveals Details of SARS-CoV-2 Spread Across Brazil

A genomic analysis in Nature Microbiology explores how SARS-CoV-2 spread into, across, and from Brazil.

New Study Highlights Utility of Mutation Testing in Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer

Genetic mutations in BRAF and RAS are associated with patient outcomes in anaplastic thyroid carcinoma, a new JCO Precision Oncology study reports.

Study Points to Increased Risk of Dangerous Blood Clots in COVID-19 Patients

An analysis in JAMA Internal Medicine finds that even mild COVID-19 increases risk of venous thromboembolism.

Y Chromosome Study Reveals Details on Timing of Human Settlement in Americas

A Y chromosome-based analysis suggests South America may have first been settled more than 18,000 years ago, according to a new PLOS One study.