START: an automated tool for serial analysis of chromatin occupancy data

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The serial analysis of chromatin occupancy technique (SACO) promises to become a widely used method for the unbiased genome-wide experimental identification of loci bound by a transcription factor of interest. We describe the first web-based automatic tool, termed sequence tag analysis and reporting tool (START), for processing SACO data generated by experiments performed for the yeast, fruit fly, mouse, rat or human genomes. The program uses as input sequences of inserts from a SACO library from which it extracts all SACO tags, maps them to genomic locations and annotates them. START returns detailed information about these tags including the genes, the genomic elements and the miRNA precursors found in their vicinity, and makes use of the MAPPER database to identify putative transcription factor binding sites located close to the tags.

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