We’re excited to report that researchers using the NCBI Multiple Sequence Alignment Viewer (MSAV) can now add or remove columns from the alignment view. In this way, you can choose to show only columns with data relevant for analysis of the sequences in your alignment.
When you arrive at an MSA alignment view, you’ll see columns for the Sequence ID (e.g., sequence accession number), Start and End of the alignment, and the organism (species name).
Sometimes, the information in these default columns isn’t the most useful information for sorting through the alignment. In the example above, all the sequences are from the same organism, so looking at the Organism column won’t help in figuring out the differences among the different sequences in the alignment.
In order to help you navigate through the data in alignments like these, we’ve provided a way for you to change the columns. If you go to the Columns option on the toolbar, you will see the option to add columns that have information for this set of alignments. You can also remove columns by unchecking the box in the ‘Columns selection’ menu (Figure 1a-b.)
For instance, you can unselect the Organism, Start, and End columns and add the columns for County and Isolation Source. This changes the columns in the alignment as shown below.
This enhanced functionality also allows you to sort the column by clicking on the top of the columns. If you sort by Country, you can cluster all the sequences in the alignment from a certain geographical location together.
From here, you can now select rows in bulk corresponding to a certain Country to hide from view. You can hide rows from the Rows dialog or simply by using the right-click menu. See our previous NCBI Insights post or our documentation for more information on hiding rows.
When you generate a PDF or SGV view of this alignment, you’ll see that the columns and rows in the image are the same as the ones you specified in the alignment.
Please contact us through the Feedback link on the MSA Viewer or write to the NCBI Help Desk to provide feedback and let us know how we can make the NCBI Multiple Sequence Viewer work better for you. We always want to hear from you!