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BioSAVE: Display of scored annotation within a sequence context

Richard F Pollock and Boris Adryan*

Author Affiliations

MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 0QH, UK

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BMC Bioinformatics 2008, 9:157  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-9-157

Published: 20 March 2008



Visualization of sequence annotation is a common feature in many bioinformatics tools. For many applications it is desirable to restrict the display of such annotation according to a score cutoff, as biological interpretation can be difficult in the presence of the entire data. Unfortunately, many visualisation solutions are somewhat static in the way they handle such score cutoffs.


We present BioSAVE, a sequence annotation viewer with on-the-fly selection of visualisation thresholds for each feature. BioSAVE is a versatile OS X program for visual display of scored features (annotation) within a sequence context. The program reads sequence and additional supplementary annotation data (e.g., position weight matrix matches, conservation scores, structural domains) from a variety of commonly used file formats and displays them graphically. Onscreen controls then allow for live customisation of these graphics, including on-the-fly selection of visualisation thresholds for each feature.


Possible applications of the program include display of transcription factor binding sites in a genomic context or the visualisation of structural domain assignments in protein sequences and many more. The dynamic visualisation of these annotations is useful, e.g., for the determination of cutoff values of predicted features to match experimental data. Program, source code and exemplary files are freely available at the BioSAVE homepage.