Motif detection based on Gibbs sampling is a common procedure used to retrieve regulatory motifs in silico. Using a species-specific background model was previously shown to increase the robustness of the algorithm. Here, we demonstrate that selecting a non-species-adapted background model can have an adverse effect on the results of motif detection. The large differences in the average nucleotide composition of prokaryotic sequences exacerbate the problem of exchanging background models. Therefore, we have developed complex background models for all prokaryotic species with available genome sequences.
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