A highly accurate predictor for translation initiation sites in human mRNAs. Our algorithm includes two novel ideas. First, we introduce a class of new sequence-similarity kernels based on string editing, called edit kernels, for use with support vector machines (SVMs) in a discriminative approach to predict TISs. The edit kernels are simple and have significant biological and probabilistic interpretations. Although the edit kernels are not positive definite, it is easy to make the kernel matrix positive definite by adjusting the parameters. Second, we convert the region of an input mRNA sequence downstream to a putative TIS into an amino acid sequence before applying SVMs to avoid the high redundancy in the genetic code.