Date of Award

Fall 12-14-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Computer Science

First Advisor

Yi Pan

Second Advisor

Guantao Chen

Third Advisor

Alex Zelikovsky

Fourth Advisor

Anu G. Bourgeois


Aligning multiple biological sequences such as protein sequences or DNA/RNA sequences is a fundamental task in bioinformatics and sequence analysis. These alignments may contain invaluable information that scientists need to predict the sequences' structures, determine the evolutionary relationships between them, or discover drug-like compounds that can bind to the sequences. Unfortunately, multiple sequence alignment (MSA) is NP-Complete. In addition, the lack of a reliable scoring method makes it very hard to align the sequences reliably and to evaluate the alignment outcomes.

In this dissertation, we have designed a new scoring method for use in multiple sequence alignment. Our scoring method encapsulates stereo-chemical properties of sequence residues and their substitution probabilities into a tree-structure scoring scheme. This new technique provides a reliable scoring scheme with low computational complexity.

In addition to the new scoring scheme, we have designed an overlapping sequence clustering algorithm to use in our new three multiple sequence alignment algorithms. One of our alignment algorithms uses a dynamic weighted guidance tree to perform multiple sequence alignment in progressive fashion. The use of dynamic weighted tree allows errors in the early alignment stages to be corrected in the subsequence stages. Other two algorithms utilize sequence knowledge-bases and sequence consistency to produce biological meaningful sequence alignments. To improve the speed of the multiple sequence alignment, we have developed a parallel algorithm that can be deployed on reconfigurable computer models. Analytically, our parallel algorithm is the fastest progressive multiple sequence alignment algorithm.