Swarm intelligence for optimizing the parameters of multiple sequence aligners

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


Different aligner heuristics can be found in the literature to solve the Multiple Sequence Alignment problem. These aligners rely on the parameter configuration proposed by their authors (also known as default parameter configuration), that tried to obtain good results (alignments with high accuracy and conservation) for any input set of unaligned sequences. However, the default parameter configuration is not always the best parameter configuration for every input set; namely, depending on the biological characteristics of the input set, one may be able to find a better parameter configuration that outputs a more accurate and conservative alignment. This work's main contributions include: to study the input set's biological characteristics and to then apply the best parameter configuration found depending on those characteristics. The framework uses a pre-computed file to take the best parameter configuration found for a dataset with similar biological characteristics. In order to create this file, we use a Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) algorithm, that is, an algorithm based on swarm intelligence. To test the effectiveness of the characteristic-based framework, we employ five well-known aligners: Clustal W, DIALIGN-TX, Kalign2, MAFFT, and MUSCLE. The results of these aligners see clear improvements when using the proposed characteristic-based framework.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-28
JournalSwarm and Evolutionary Computation
Early online date1 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • Characteristics-based framework
  • Evolutionary algorithms
  • Multiple sequence alignment
  • Swarm intelligence

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