Best Fonts to Display Biological Sequence and Alignment

FASTA Sequence

Biological sequence alignment is a method to find similarities between two sequences. The characters (letters or biological sequence alphabets) are arranged row-wise and column-wise according to match/identity and mismatch of characters through symbol representation. In row-wise, a gap character (hyphen symbol ‘-’) is used to align/adjust the sequence characters for matching without changing the order. Correspondingly, the column-wise characters such as match (same character, pipe symbol ‘|’, colon symbol ‘:’, asterisk symbol ‘*’, or dot symbol ‘.’), mismatch (anyone of the sequence character, or blank space ‘ ’), positive (positive symbol ‘+’), and gap/indel (blank space ‘ ’) are used to represent sequence alignment.

A sequence or sequence alignment must be properly formatted in a text editor/word processor using fixed-width fonts to find the differences of characters in the sequence and control word wrapping. Formatting sequence helps to find the sequence length and formatting sequence alignment helps to find the sequence similarity. There are many fixed-width fonts (a.k.a. monospaced font, non-proportional font, or fixed-pitch) that occupy equal width for each character useful for arranging the characters. The most commonly used fixed-width fonts that come by default with the system (varies in different OS) are Courier New, Consolas, Lucida Sans Typewriter, and Monaco. There are many types of fixed-width fonts can be freely downloaded from Google Fonts, 1001 Free Fonts, Font Squirrel, FontSpace, etc. A perfect example for formatted pairwise and multiple sequence alignment is below.

Sequence Alignments


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