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Open Access Open Badges Methodology article

Algorithm of OMA for large-scale orthology inference

Alexander CJ Roth, Gaston H Gonnet and Christophe Dessimoz

Author Affiliations

ETH Zurich, and Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland

BMC Bioinformatics 2008, 9:518  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-9-518

Published: 4 December 2008



OMA is a project that aims to identify orthologs within publicly available, complete genomes. With 657 genomes analyzed to date, OMA is one of the largest projects of its kind.


The algorithm of OMA improves upon standard bidirectional best-hit approach in several respects: it uses evolutionary distances instead of scores, considers distance inference uncertainty, includes many-to-many orthologous relations, and accounts for differential gene losses. Herein, we describe in detail the algorithm for inference of orthology and provide the rationale for parameter selection through multiple tests.


OMA contains several novel improvement ideas for orthology inference and provides a unique dataset of large-scale orthology assignments.