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For the Math Geeks

Plus, a mathematics-focused online magazine, is doing a series on the role of math and statistics in the biomedical sciences and as part of it, Marianne Freiberger writes about the math of genomics. She discusses the algorithms being used in genome aligners and assemblers. She says the dynamic programming approach has "been around since the 1950s and it's extremely versatile" and that, as an alignment method, it "drastically reduces the number of steps needed to compute the best alignment of two sequences" — she shows how it works using graphs. Freiberger then goes on to describe the math behind Velvet, which she says "makes clever use of the structure of the graph to weed out errors and identify repeats."

HT: Wellcome Trust, which supports Plus' series

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