Skip to content


  • Research Article
  • Open Access

Spectrogram Analysis of Genomes

EURASIP Journal on Advances in Signal Processing20042004:790248

  • Received: 28 February 2003
  • Published:


We performed frequency-domain analysis in the genomes of various organisms using tricolor spectrograms, identifying several types of distinct visual patterns characterizing specific DNA regions. We relate patterns and their frequency characteristics to the sequence characteristics of the DNA. At times, the spectrogram patterns could be related to the structure of the corresponding protein region by using various public databases such as GenBank. Some patterns are explained from the biological nature of the corresponding regions, which relate to chromosome structure and protein coding, and some patterns have yet unknown biological significance. We found biologically meaningful patterns, on the scale of millions of base pairs, to a few hundred base pairs. Chromosome-wide patterns include periodicities ranging from 2 to 300. The color of the spectrogram depends on the nucleotide content at specific frequencies, and therefore can be used as a local indicator of CG content and other measures of relative base content. Several smaller-scale patterns were found to represent different types of domains made up of various tandem repeats.


  • DNA spectrograms
  • frequency-domain analysis
  • genome analysis

Authors’ Affiliations

Department of Electrical Engineering, Columbia University, NY 10027, USA
Department of Electrical Engineering, Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics (C2B2) and Columbia Genome Center, Columbia University, NY 10027, USA


© Sussillo et al. 2004

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.