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First Look: Firefly Genome Sequencing Results

Monday, November 14, 2016

You may remember the firefly genome sequencing project, which was a finalist in our recent SMRT Grant competition and ultimately was crowdfunded through the Experiment site and our Genome Galaxy Initiative. We’re thoroughly enjoying the lab updates on this project, and couldn’t resist sharing this latest one from Team Firefly.

In a jubilant note, the scientists report to their funders: “Good News! PacBio long-read sequencing data received.” The update is written with lots of great explanation about the basics of sequencing, analysis, and more for science enthusiasts. Our favorite part is the visualization of read length: the team included the sequence from a full PacBio read, 16,933 bases long, and compared it to the full sequence of paired-end Illumina reads. It’s a clear and compelling look at the extra value long reads can provide.

The update also provides a detailed comparison of data quality, with graphics illustrating single-read errors and how stacking reads for a consensus call overcomes individual errors. “Therefore the ‘consensus accuracy’ of PacBio sequencing ends up being the best of any sequencing technology,” the firefly team writes. Later in the update, they show how PacBio long reads contain data that were missed by short-read sequencers, setting them up to achieve a high-quality reference genome from SMRT Sequencing data.

Congratulations to the firefly team on this first look at their new data, and we wish them continued luck as they move ahead with the project!

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