CASTOR: A machine learning platform for reproducible viral genome classification

Abstract Motivation: Advances in cloning and sequencing technology yielded a massive number of genome of virus strains. The classification and annotation of these genomes constitute important assets in the discovery of genomic variability, taxonomic characteristics and disease mechanisms. Existing classification methods are often designed for a well-studied virus. Thus, the viral comparative genomic studies could benefit from more generic, fast and accurate tools for classifying and typing newly sequenced strains of diverse virus families. Results: Here, we introduce a fast, accurate and generic virus classification platform, CASTOR, based on a machine learning approach. CASTOR is inspired by a well-known technique in molecular biology: Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RFLP). It simulates the restriction digestion of genomic material by different enzymes into fragments in-silico. It uses two metrics to construct feature vectors…


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