BRAIN: A Universal Tool for High-Throughput Calculations of the Isotopic Distribution for Mass Spectrometry

This Letter presents the R-package implementation of the recently introduced polynomial method for calculating the aggregated isotopic distribution called BRAIN (Baffling Recursive Algorithm for Isotopic distributioN calculations). The algorithm is simple, easy to understand, highly accurate, fast, and memory-efficient. The method is based on the application of the Newton-Girard theorem and Viète’s formulae to the polynomial coding of different aggregated isotopic variants. As a result, an elegant recursive equation is obtained for computing the occurrence probabilities of consecutive aggregated isotopic peaks. Additionally, the algorithm also allows calculating the center-masses of the aggregated isotopic variants. We propose an implementation which is suitable for high-throughput processing and easily customizable for application in different areas of mass spectral data analyses. A case study demonstrates how the R-package can be applied in the context of protein research, but the software can be also used for calculating the isotopic distribution in the context of lipidomics, metabolomics, glycoscience, or even space exploration. More materials, i.e., reference manual, vignette, and the package itself are available at Bioconductor online (