Standard Article

Sequence Similarity

  1. Jaap Heringa

Published Online: 15 JUL 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0005317.pub2



How to Cite

Heringa, J. 2008. Sequence Similarity. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2008


Sequence similarity is a measure of an empirical relationship between sequences. A common objective of sequence similarity calculations is establishing the likelihood for sequence homology: the chance that sequences have evolved from a common ancestor. A similarity score is therefore aimed to approximate the evolutionary distance between a pair of nucleotide or protein sequences. Many implementations for measuring sequence similarity exist, where a general aim is to infer structural or functional characteristics of an unannotated molecular sequence.


  • sequence similarity;
  • sequence identity;
  • homology;
  • alignment;
  • homology searching;
  • E-value