Visual comparison of metabolic pathways

Falk Schreiber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Biological databases contain a large amount of data about metabolic pathways, in particular about similar pathways in different species. Biologists are familiar with visual representations of metabolic pathways. Pathway diagrams help them to understand the complex relationships between the components of the pathways, to extract information from the data, and to compare pathways between different species. However, visual interfaces to metabolic pathway databases cannot cope well with the visual comparison of similar pathways in different species. This paper presents a new approach for the visual comparison of metabolic pathways which uses a graph drawing algorithm. Using layout constraints, identical parts of similar pathways in different species are placed side by side, thereby highlighting similarities and differences between these pathways. This visualization method can be used as a visual interface to databases. It supports different layout styles and has been tested with data obtained from the BioPath system and the KEGG database.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-340
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Visual Languages and Computing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Constraints
  • Graph drawing
  • Metabolic pathways
  • Pathway comparison
  • Visualization

Cite this