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What is BLAST? March 10, 2011

Posted by cjcd in Uncategorized.
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BLAST is an acronym for Basic Local Alignment Search Tool, and is an algorithm for searching databases of nucleotide and protein sequences for ones similar to those that the user chooses. It was originally created in 1990, and has since proven useful in all manner of biological research, allowing users to do things such as finding likely orthologs (similar genes between species due to common ancestry) and retracing the origin of certain genes. The BLAST algorithm can and has been modified for comparisons of more specialized tasks using biological data, such as finding conserved domains (recurring amino acid sequences that used as sort of building blocks in protein evolution) in a protein sequence or aligning two or more sequences and providing specific information about their level of similarity and likely evolutionary relatedness. It is one of the most widely used bioinformatics tools due to its relative speed and ease of use. In order to learn how to use it for yourself, click on the “BLAST Tutorial” tab at the top of the page.


Cody Davis cdavis2@samford.edu
Biology 306
Samford University