Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Computer Science


Dr. Lila Kari


Representing DNA sequences graphically and evaluating, as well as displaying, species’ relationships have been considered to be an important aspect of molecular biology research. A novel approach is proposed in this thesis that combines three methods: a) Chaos Game Representation (CGR), to portray quantitative characteristics of a DNA sequence as a black-and -white image, b) Structural Similarity (SSIM) index, an image comparison method, to compute pair-wise distances between these images, and c) Multidimensional Scaling (MDS), to visually display each sequence as a point in a two-dimensional Euclidean space. The proposed method produces a visual representation called Genome Distance Map (GDM) when applied to a collection of genomic DNA sequences. In a resulting Genome Distance Map, the sequences can be visualized as points in a common two-dimensional Euclidean space, wherein the geometric distance between any two points is approximate to the differences between their respective DNA sequence compositions. In addition, the proposed Genome Distance Map provides a compelling visualization of species’ relatedness in comparison to the phylogenetic trees. Moreover, the proposed method is sensitive and robust in detecting insertions, deletions, substitutions of nucleotides in a genome.