Orthograph: a versatile tool for mapping coding nucleotide sequences to clusters of orthologous genes
Background Orthology characterizes genes of different organisms that arose from a single ancestral gene via speciation, in contrast to paralogy, which is assigned to genes that arose via gene duplication. An accurate orthology assignment is a crucial step for comparative genomic studies. Orthologous genes in two organisms can be identified by applying a so-called reciprocal search strategy, given that complete information of the organisms’ gene repertoire is available. In many investigations, however, only a fraction of the gene content of the organisms under study is examined (e.g., RNA sequencing). Here, identification of orthologous nucleotide or amino acid sequences can be achieved using a graph-based approach that maps nucleotide sequences to genes of known orthology. Existing implementations of this approach, however, suffer from algorithmic issues that may cause problems in downstream analyses.