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cblaster: a remote search tool for rapid identification and visualisation of homologous gene clusters

By Cameron Laurence Mathison Gilchrist, Thomas J. Booth, Bram van Wersch, Liana van Grieken, Marnix H Medema, Yit-Heng Chooi

Posted 09 Nov 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.11.08.370601

Genes involved in coordinated biological pathways, including metabolism, drug resistance and virulence, are often collocalised as gene clusters. Identifying homologous gene clusters aids in the study of their function and evolution, however existing tools are limited to searching local sequence databases. Tools for remotely searching public databases are necessary to keep pace with the rapid growth of online genomic data. Here, we present cblaster, a Python based tool to rapidly detect collocated genes in local and remote databases. cblaster is easy to use, offering both a command line and a user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI). It generates outputs that enable intuitive visualisations of large datasets, and can be readily incorporated into larger bioinformatic pipelines. cblaster is a significant update to the comparative genomics toolbox. cblaster source code and documentation is freely available from GitHub under the MIT license (https://www.github.com/gamcil/cblaster).

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