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Tetra-Nucleotide Analysis


A tetra-nucleotide is a fragment of DNA sequence with 4 bases (e.g. AGTC or TTGG). Pride et al. (2003) showed that the frequency of tetra-nucleotides in bacterial genomes contain useful, albeit weak, phylogenetic signals. Even though tetra-nucleotide analysis (TNA) utilizes the information of whole genome, it is evident that it cannot replace other alignment-based phylogenetic methods such as OrthoANI or 16S rRNA phylogeny. However, TNA can be useful for phylogenetic characterization when whole genome or 16S rRNA gene information is not available. For example, a partial genomic fragment obtained from a metagenome can be identified by TNA (Teeling et al., 2004). TNA is also fast enough that it can be used as a search engine against a large genome database.