- Paperback: 370 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press; First Edition edition (23 April 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521629713
- ISBN-13: 978-0521629713
- Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 1.9 x 24.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 161,387 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
Biological Sequence Analysis: Probabilistic Models of Proteins and Nucleic Acids Paperback – 23 Apr 1998
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'This book fills an important gap in the bioinformatics literature and should be required reading for anyone who is interested in doing serious work in biological sequence analysis. For biologists who have little formal training in statistics or probability, it is a long-awaited contribution that, short of consulting a professional statistician who is well versed in molecular biology, is the best source of statistical information that is relevant to sequence-alignment problems. This book seems destined to become a classic. I highly recommend it.' Andrew F. Neuwald, Trends in Biochemical Sciences
'This book is a nice tutorial and introduction to the field and can certainly be recommended to all who wish to analyse biological sequences with computer methods. It can also serve as a basis for a university course for undergraduates.' Trends in Cell Biology
' … an enjoyable opportunity to see a blend of modeling and data analysis at work on an important class of problems in the rapidly growing field of computational biology.' D. Siegmund, Short Book Reviews
Probabilistic methods are assuming greater significance in the analysis of nucleotide sequence data. This book provides the first unified, up-to-date and self-contained account of such methods, and more generally of probabilistic methods of sequence analysis, presented in a Bayesian framework.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book does indeed cover the subject pretty well, in particular HMMs and profile HMMs.
Subjects are treated well and are often represented graphically too. Despite this, I think it would be better to have more examples (there are indeed very few of them).
It might be kinda hard for those who DON'T have a strong math/statistics background, since it does cover them in a couple of pages and assumes you know much about probability and stuff.
If you have a maths or computer background then go for it but if you prefer your Bio in Bioinformatics then stay well clear and go for something like Krane, Mount or Lesk.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
One chapter covers the basics of dynamic programming for string matching: a staple of bioinformatics computing. The authors come back to it a number of times as they introduce new variations on the string-matching theme. They give about the clearest description of the Needleman-Wunsch and basic variants (including Smith-Waterman) of any book I know.
The bulk of the book is devoted to Hidden Markov Models (HMMs), as one might have guessed in a book with Eddy as co-author. It covers the basics of model construction, motif finding, and various uses for decoding. Again, it covers all the basics so clearly you'll want to start coding as soon as you read it.
The later sections of the book cover phylogeny and tree building, along with the relationships to multiple alignment. Good, solid, clear writing prepares the reader for texts that may be more specialized, but possibly less transparent.
The next-to-last chapter, on RNA folding, is weaker than the ones before, in my opinion. It ties to the other chapters reasonably well in terms of algorithms, but I don't think it does justice to the thermodynamic models of RNA folding. If there is any weakness in this chapter, though, it does not detract from the strengths elsewhere.
The final chapter, the "background on probability", is the one that I think needs the most support. If you don't already understand its topics, I doubt that this will help very much. (If you do understand them, you won 't need the help.) There's nothing inherently tricky about probability, but individual distributions carry many assumptions, and I did not see those spelled out well.
This shouldn't be the only book in your bioinformatics library. If you really want algorithms, though, it's a good book to have in the collection and one you'll keep coming back to.
As the title implies, "Biological Sequence Analysis" focuses almost exlusively on sequence analysis. After a brief overview of statistics (more a reminder than an introduction), the first half of the book is devoted to alignment algorithms. These algorithms take pairs of sequences of bases making up DNA or sequences of amino acids making up proteins and provide optimal alignments of the sequences or of subsequences according to various statistical models of match likelihoods. Methods analyzed include edit distances with various substitution and gapping penalties (penalties for sections that don't match), Hidden Markov Models (HMMs) for alignment and also for classification against families, and finally, multiple sequence alignment, where alignment is generalized from pairs to sets of sequences. I found the section on building phylogenetic trees by means of hierarchical clustering to be the most fascinating section of the book (especially given its practical application to classifying wine varietals!). The remainder of the book is devoted to higher-order grammars such as context-free grammars, and their stochastic generalization. Stochastic context-free grammars are applied to the analysis of RNA secondary structure (folding). There is a good discussion of the CYK dynamic programming algorithm for non-deterministic context-free grammar parsing; an algorithm that is easily applied to finding the best parse in a probabilistic grammar. The presentations of the dynamic programming algorithms for HMM decoding, edit distance minimization, hierarchical clustering and context-free grammar parsing are as good as I've seen anywhere. They are precise, insightful, and informative without being overly subscripted. The illustrations provided are extremely helpful, including their positioning on pages where they're relevant.
This book is aimed at biologists trying to learn about algorithms, which is clear from the terse descriptions of the underlying biological problems. The technical details were so clear, though, that I was able to easily follow the algorithms even if I wasn't always sure about the genetic applications. After studying some introductions to genetics and coming back to this book, I was able to follow the application discussions much more easily. This book assumes the reader is familiar with algorithms and is comfortable manipulating a lot of statistics; a gentler introduction to exactly the same mathematics and algorithms can be found in Jurafsky and Martin's "Speech and Language Processing". For biologists who want to see how sequence statistics and algorithms applied to language, I would suggest Manning and Schuetze's "Foundations of Statistical Natural Language Processing". Although it is much more demanding computationally, more details on all of these algorithms, as well as some more background on the biology, along with some really nifty complexity analysis can be found in Dan Gusfield's "Algorithms on Strings, Trees and Sequences".
In these days of fly-by-night copy-editing and typesetting, I really appreciate Cambridge University Press's elegant style and attention to detail. Durbin, Eddy, Krogh and Mitchison's "Biological Sequence Analysis" is as beautiful and readable as it is useful.
I find this book an excellent textbook but wouldn't consider it a classic. There are some important topics missing or some topics are just briefly touched upon. (e.g. heuristic pairwaise alignment) Maybe it's just because of my theoretical background, but I find that the book does a poor job in explaining/proving the intuition behind certain aspects of the algorithms (e.d. why does a convex gap penalty lead to a different complexity than a strictly increasing gap penalty ...) . On the other hand, the probabilistic foundations of the different techniques is well written.
My final remark is that the book is not fun to read at all. The authors have made no effort to spice up the content with some historical background, some explanations of how the theory fits in the bigger picture ...
Summarized: an excellent textbook for anyone taking a course in bioinformatics but do not use this book to wet your appetite for the field ...
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