Following advances in DNA and protein sequencing, the application of computational approaches in analysing biological data has become a very important aspect of biology. Evaluating similarities between biological sequences is crucial to our understanding of evolutionary biology, and this can be achieved by basic local alignment search tool (BLAST) and fast alignment (FASTA). BLAST and FASTA have become fundamental tools of biology and it is essential to know how they operate, the task they can accomplish and how to accurately interpret their output. This paper provides an analysis of BLAST and FASTA in sequence analysis. Both BLAST and FASTA algorithms are appropriate for determining highly similar sequences. However, BLAST appears to be faster and also more accurate than FASTA. Both BLAST and FASTA are limited in sensitivity and may not be able to capture highly divergent sequences in some cases. Consequently, evolutionarily diverse members of a family of proteins may be missed out in a BLAST or FASTA search.
Key words: Bioinformatics, basic local alignment search tool (BLAST), fast alignment (FASTA), sequence alignment, prokaryotes.
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