Nowadays even a 1% increase of the accuracy for the secondary structure prediction is considered remarkable progress. In this case, we have to consider the reasonableness of the accuracy index Q3, which is used widely. A refined accuracy index, called Q8, is proposed to evaluate algorithms of secondary structure prediction. It is shown that Q8 is superior to the widely used index Q3 in that the former carries more information of the predictive accuracy matrix than does the latter. Therefore, algorithms are evaluated more objectively by Q8 than Q3. Based on 396 nonhomologous proteins, five currently available algorithms of secondary structure prediction were evaluated and compared using the new index Q8. Of the five algorithms, PHD turned out to be the unique algorithm, with Q8 accuracy better than 70%. It is suggested that Q3 should be replaced by Q8 in evaluating secondary structure prediction in future studies.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.