Postprint version. Published in 2012 IEEE International Conference on Bioinformatics and Biomedicine Workshops Proceedings: Philadelphia, PA, October 4, 2012, pages 951-953.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.1109/BIBMW.2012.6470279.
Microbial Source Tracking (MST) is a field in which microbial strains are identified and associated with a specific host source (e.g., human, canine, avian, etc). Identifying the hosts of microbial strains lies at the heart of many studies of bacterial contamination in the environment. Being able to determine which host species is responsible, e.g., for fecal contamination of a creek, allows the parties involved to develop specific measures for addressing the contamination. The paper presents an in-silico study to investigate the sensitivity of the pyroprinting method. Given a collection of possible DNA sequences that can be found in the sequenced ITS regions, we construct a collection of all possible theoretical combinations. Each such combination represents a theoretically possible strain of E. coli. We construct a pyroprint model of each strain, and then build a matrix of pairwise similarities between the pyroprints.
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