There are analogous problems in other disciplines, like recognizing the source of a text based upon grammatical and word-usage or determining the path of a video game; nevertheless, we’ll look at an example in molecular biology. So organisms have genomes and these genomes are made up of nucleotides. There are 4 (A, T, C & G). In other words, the alphabet of life is just four characters. Okay, so these nucleotides belong to one of two groups – purines (A & G) and pyrimidines (C &T) – which we often abbreviate in a 2 letter code as R and Y respectively. Let’s say that we have the complete genome sequence for some horrible virus strain. We then are sampling people showing symptoms and get fragments (aka words) of the virus which infects these. (Think the movie Contagion.) Anyways, our goal is to determine if the patient in fact has the terrible virus or just some boring one like a cold or the flu. We can solve this problem using a tree.


  • Take the genome sequence and break it up into all words.
  • Transform these words into a tree.

Let’s see for example, if I have the words rrry, rryr and ryry, I could represent them with this tree: See image.

A few things to note. The link between parent and child implies that the letter of the child is seen subsequent to the letter of the parent in the word.

Secondly, notice that r followed by y occurs three times in the tree. A space efficient tree would link back to such occurrences. This is complicated. Let’s just be simple.

  • Take in a file of reads which are of the same length as the words defined in step 1 and represented as a tree in step 2.

Let’s say I have the sequence rrry. Is it in the genome? See image.

Is rryy in the genome? See image.

To get you started, I’ve created two classes BTreeNode and QTreeNode.

class BTreeNode
char Data;
BTreeNode *Lchild;
BTreeNode *Rchild;
class QTreeNode
char Data;
QTreeNode *child1;
QTreeNode *child2;
QTreeNode *child3;
QTreeNode *child4;

I’ve also created two functions get_words(…) and get_reads(…) which will get the words from the genome file and reads from the file respectively. These functions are written to read in the files of a 4 character alphabet and either convert them to a two character alphabet (in the case that you will be using BTreeNode) or stay as a four character alphabet (in the case that you will be using QTreeNode).

Your task is to develop a class which either uses BTreeNode or QTreeNode that will take the words from the vector created by the get_words(…) function and create either a binary tree or a quaternary tree using BTreeNode or QTreeNode, respectively. This class will then have functionality to traverse particular paths through the tree, as specified given a read contained within the vector created by get_reads(…). The file will be generated as specified previously. The number of reads that map (ie, “Yes”) and the total number of reads will be reported to the user via the console.

In addition to your code file(s). Your submission must also include a 1/2 - 3/4 page report. In this report, you must clearly state:

  • If your functionality is for the 2 character or 4 character alphabet (or both)
  • The IDE you used to develop your code
  • A screen-shot of your final code compiled (showing no errors) in your IDE
  • A screen-shot of the console window showing the results requested
  • A 1 paragraph summary of how your code works. (Think of this as some documentation for the user.)
  • A list of all the files included in your submission and a brief discussion of what they are.
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It is not our intention to break the school's academic policy. Projects posted are only used as a reference and should not be submitted as is. We are not held liable for any misuse of the solutions. Please see the frequently asked questions page for further questions and inquiries.
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