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Forum:Bioinformatics terms that might be confusing for beginners
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2.3 years ago
mcclintock • 10
@mcclintock48605

Everyone involved in bioinformatics should first understand the concept of the base quality, which is Phred score. But for beginners, why the base quality was named that might still be confusing. Does anyone have other examples like this? Thanks.

For instance, Bowtie, TopHatCufflinksStringtie ,Ballgown etc. , all these softwares are about clothes. Why?

bioinformatics forum blog Forum • 671 views
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Hello zhangjk21 ,

why do you find "base quality" confusing? It is one of the few terms that are quite well defined.

It become more complicated with:

• coverage
• duplicates
• 1-based vs 0-based position
• the large variety of file types
• ...

fin swimmer

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What really confused me is not the true meaning or professional definition of the base quality. I know it is well defined. And I'm just interested in the story why we use this word Phred , which I can not figure out according to the definition because it is not abbreviation of other terms. In other words, I'm more interested in the history behind this word Phred.

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Bowtie, TopHat，Cufflinks ，Stringtie ,Ballgown etc. , all these softwares are about clothes. Why?

this is simply a gimmick of the developers (they have to name their software anyway, so why not this?) . They all belong to the same suite (no pun intended) of software. I believe it is actually one of the better examples of software naming

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It's called the Tuxedo suite, IIRC

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Just to go back one step: the very term, Bioinformatics, is confusing. As different people have different ideas about what is bioinformatics, actually, these people then mis-interpret the skills / abilities of others who call themselves bioinformaticians. Why? - it is because they expect that these other people have all of the skills that they believe a bioinformatician should have, i.e., based on their own ideas about what is bioinfortmatics.

Bioinformatics is very broad, and there are multiple areas in which each can specialise. Then again, you have bioinformaticians who have broad / general skills but who are not true experts in any one area.

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The difference between insert size and fragment size was confusing for me initially.

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Just to be sure :

• Insert size = The size of the DNA after mechanical or enzymatic shearing of DNA
• Fragment size = The size of DNA sheared + Poly-A + adaptators

Or is it the other way around ?

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PE reads      R1--------->                                                 <---------R2
fragment        ~~~===============================================================~~~
insert                 ===========================================================
inner mate                  .................................................

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at least the other way around:

• Fragment size = The size of the DNA after mechanical or enzymatic shearing of DNA
• insert size = the bit of DNA between the two adapters

see here for a nice blog post on this topic

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I added markup to your post for increased readability. You can do this by selecting the text and clicking the 101010 button. When you compose or edit a post that button is in your toolbar, see image below:

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It is explained clearly in this post here

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In practice, a fragment size can mean the length with or without the adapters, it depends on the context of which fragments are being talked about.

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It’s worth bearing in mind that some terms (software names especially) are often named withou any actual relevance to what they do. It might be an in-joke by the group, or a reference that they like etc.

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like northern and western blotting in experiments.

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Actually those sort of ‘make sense’, because they followed on from Southern blotting which was invented by Edward Southern. It seemed semi logical to give them names of other cardinal points.

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Or Just Another Bogus Bioinformatics Algorithm!

http://www.acgt.me/blog?tag=jabba

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2.3 years ago
H.Hasani • 730
@H.Hasani21782

Well, Wikipedia has a clear explanation for the Phred score!

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Tells you what it is, but doesn't actually explain where the name originated from...

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Phred stands for Phil's Read Editor. It is software (Phred, Phrap, and Consed) written by Phil Green and team. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9521921?dopt=Abstract

What's in a name? I always like to think that it was a reference to Fred Sanger, but I am not sure.

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2.3 years ago
@lieven.sterck23882

I think if there is one example that seems to be confusing (not only to beginners) is the similarity <-> homology one. I see this mistake appearing even in manuscripts of very "experienced" people.

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2.3 years ago
@Bastien Hervé36456

Mapping <=> Alignment

Alignment and mapping

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2.3 years ago
@WouterDeCoster

For instance, Bowtie, TopHat，Cufflinks ，Stringtie ,Ballgown etc. , all these softwares are about clothes. Why?

Why not? :)

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just to elucidate my question, LOL

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Well yeah, naming a tool doesn't have to make sense. You just have to remember if you google for Cufflinks that you should add "RNA". Same goes for the STRING database, though.