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- Computational identification and analysis of non-coding RNAs in large-scale biological data
- Lei, Jikai
- Electronic Theses & Dissertations
Non-protein-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) are RNA molecules that function directly at the level of RNA without translating into protein. They play important biological functions in all three domains of life, i.e. Eukarya, Bacteria and Archaea. To understand the working mechanisms and the functions of ncRNAs in various species, a fundamental step is to identify both known and novel ncRNAs from large-scale biological data.Large-scale genomic data includes both genomic sequence data and NGS sequencing...
Show moreNon-protein-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) are RNA molecules that function directly at the level of RNA without translating into protein. They play important biological functions in all three domains of life, i.e. Eukarya, Bacteria and Archaea. To understand the working mechanisms and the functions of ncRNAs in various species, a fundamental step is to identify both known and novel ncRNAs from large-scale biological data.Large-scale genomic data includes both genomic sequence data and NGS sequencing data. Both types of genomic data provide great opportunity for identifying ncRNAs. For genomic sequence data, a lot of ncRNA identification tools that use comparative sequence analysis have been developed. These methods work well for ncRNAs that have strong sequence similarity. However, they are not well-suited for detecting ncRNAs that are remotely homologous. Next generation sequencing (NGS), while it opens a new horizon for annotating and understanding known and novel ncRNAs, also introduces many challenges. First, existing genomic sequence searching tools can not be readily applied to NGS data because NGS technology produces short, fragmentary reads. Second, most NGS data sets are large-scale. Existing algorithms are infeasible on NGS data because of high resource requirements. Third, metagenomic sequencing, which utilizes NGS technology to sequence uncultured, complex microbial communities directly from their natural inhabitants, further aggravates the difficulties. Thus, massive amount of genomic sequence data and NGS data calls for efficient algorithms and tools for ncRNA annotation.In this dissertation, I present three computational methods and tools to efficiently identify ncRNAs from large-scale biological data. Chain-RNA is a tool that combines both sequence similarity and structure similarity to locate cross-species conserved RNA elements with low sequence similarity in genomic sequence data. It can achieve significantly higher sensitivity in identifying remotely conserved ncRNA elements than sequence based methods such as BLAST, and is much faster than existing structural alignment tools. miR-PREFeR (miRNA PREdiction From small RNA-Seq data) utilizes expression patterns of miRNA and follows the criteria for plant microRNA annotation to accurately predict plant miRNAs from one or more small RNA-Seq data samples. It is sensitive, accurate, fast and has low-memory footprint. metaCRISPR focuses on identifying Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPRs) from large-scale metagenomic sequencing data. It uses a kmer hash table to efficiently detect reads that belong to CRISPRs from the raw metagonmic data set. Overlap graph based clustering is then conducted on the reduced data set to separate different CRSIPRs. A set of graph based algorithms are used to assemble and recover CRISPRs from the clusters.