Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Riverside

UC Riverside Previously Published Works bannerUC Riverside

rasbhari: Optimizing Spaced Seeds for Database Searching, Read Mapping and Alignment-Free Sequence Comparison.


Many algorithms for sequence analysis rely on word matching or word statistics. Often, these approaches can be improved if binary patterns representing match and don't-care positions are used as a filter, such that only those positions of words are considered that correspond to the match positions of the patterns. The performance of these approaches, however, depends on the underlying patterns. Herein, we show that the overlap complexity of a pattern set that was introduced by Ilie and Ilie is closely related to the variance of the number of matches between two evolutionarily related sequences with respect to this pattern set. We propose a modified hill-climbing algorithm to optimize pattern sets for database searching, read mapping and alignment-free sequence comparison of nucleic-acid sequences; our implementation of this algorithm is called rasbhari. Depending on the application at hand, rasbhari can either minimize the overlap complexity of pattern sets, maximize their sensitivity in database searching or minimize the variance of the number of pattern-based matches in alignment-free sequence comparison. We show that, for database searching, rasbhari generates pattern sets with slightly higher sensitivity than existing approaches. In our Spaced Words approach to alignment-free sequence comparison, pattern sets calculated with rasbhari led to more accurate estimates of phylogenetic distances than the randomly generated pattern sets that we previously used. Finally, we used rasbhari to generate patterns for short read classification with CLARK-S. Here too, the sensitivity of the results could be improved, compared to the default patterns of the program. We integrated rasbhari into Spaced Words; the source code of rasbhari is freely available at

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View