Visual Understanding of Metabolic Pathways Across Organisms Using Layout in Two and a Half Dimensions

  • 1 Department of Mathematics & Computer Science, University of Passau, Germany
  • 2 School of Information Technologies, University of Sydney, Australia
  • 3 Bioinformatics Center, Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research Gatersleben, Germany


We propose a method for visualizing a set of related metabolic pathways across organisms using 2 1/2 dimensional graph visualization. Interdependent, twodimensional layouts of each pathway are stacked on top of each other so that biologists get a full picture of subtle and significant differences among the pathways. The (dis)similarities between pathways are expressed by the Hamming distances of the underlying graphs which are used to compute a stacking order for the pathways. Layouts are determined by a global layout of the union of all pathway graphs using a variant of the proven Sugiyama approach for layered graph drawing. Our variant layout approach allows edges to cross if they appear in different graphs.

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Journal + Issues

The Journal of Integrative Bioinformatics is an international journal dedicated to methods and tools of computer science and electronic infrastructure applied to biotechnology. The journal covers mainly but not exclusively data/method integration, modeling, simulation and visualization in combination with applications of theoretical/computational tools and any other approach supporting an integrative view of complex biological systems.