Genomic islands are genomic fragments of alien origin in bacterial and archaeal genomes, usually involved in symbiosis or pathogenesis. In this work, we described Zisland Explorer, a novel tool to predict genomic islands based on the segmental cumulative GC profile. Zisland Explorer was designed with a novel strategy, as well as a combination of the homogeneity and heterogeneity of genomic sequences. While the sequence homogeneity reflects the composition consistence within each island, the heterogeneity measures the composition bias between an island and the core genome. The performance of Zisland Explorer was evaluated on the data sets of 11 different organisms. Our results suggested that the true-positive rate (TPR) of Zisland Explorer was at least 10.3% higher than that of four other widely used tools. On the other hand, the new tool did not lose overall accuracy with the improvement in the TPR and showed better equilibrium among various evaluation indexes. Also, Zisland Explorer showed better accuracy in the prediction of experimental island data. Overall, the tool provides an alternative solution over other tools, which expands the field of island prediction and offers a supplement to increase the performance of the distinct predicting strategy. We have provided a web service as well as a graphical user interface and open-source code across multiple platforms for Zisland Explorer, which is available at http://cefg.uestc.edu.cn/Zisland_Explorer/ or http://tubic.tju.edu.cn/Zisland_Explorer/.
Keywords: cumulative GC profile; genomic islands; homogeneity; prediction.
© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press.