Thursday, December 24, 2009

Pebble and Rock Band: Heuristic Resolution of Repeats and Scaffolding in the Velvet Short-Read de Novo Assembler


Despite the short length of their reads, micro-read sequencing technologies have shown their usefulness for de novo sequencing. However, especially in eukaryotic genomes, complex repeat patterns are an obstacle to large assemblies.

Principal Findings

We present a novel heuristic algorithm, Pebble, which uses paired-end read information to resolve repeats and scaffold contigs to produce large-scale assemblies. In simulations, we can achieve weighted median scaffold lengths (N50) of above 1 Mbp in Bacteria and above 100 kbp in more complex organisms. Using real datasets we obtained a 96 kbp N50 in Pseudomonas syringae and a unique 147 kbp scaffold of a ferret BAC clone. We also present an efficient algorithm called Rock Band for the resolution of repeats in the case of mixed length assemblies, where different sequencing platforms are combined to obtain a cost-effective assembly.


These algorithms extend the utility of short read only assemblies into large complex genomes. They have been implemented and made available within the open-source Velvet short-read de novo assembler.

(source URL, Via PLoS ONE Alerts: Computational Biology.)