June 1, 2021  |  

MaSuRCA Mega-Reads Assembly Technique for haplotype resolved genome assembly of hybrid PacBio and Illumina Data

The developments in DNA sequencing technology over the past several years have enabled large number of scientists to obtain sequences for the genomes of their interest at a fairly low cost. Illumina Sequencing was the dominant whole genome sequencing technology over the past few years due to its low cost. The Illumina reads are short (up to 300bp) and thus most of those draft genomes produced from Illumina data are very fragmented which limits their usability in practical scenarios. Longer reads are needed for more contiguous genomes. Recently Pacbio sequencing made significant advances in developing cost-effective long-read (>10000bp) sequencing technology and their data, although several times more expensive than Illumina, can be used to produce high quality genomes. Pacbio data can be used for de novo assembly, however due to its high error rate high coverage of the genome is required this raising the cost barrier. A solution for cost-effective genomes is to combine Pacbio and Illumina data leveraging the low error rates of the short Illumina reads and the length of the Pacbio reads. We have developed MaSuRCA mega-reads assembler for efficient assembly of hybrid data sets and we demonstrate that it performs well compared to the other published hybrid techniques. Another important benefit of the long reads is their ability to link the haplotype differences. The mega-reads approach corrects each Pacbio read independently and thus haplotype differences are preserved. Thus, leveraging the accuracy of the Illumina data and the length of the Pacbio reads, MaSuRCA mega-reads can produce haplotype-resolved genome assemblies, where each contig has sequence from a single haplotype. We present preliminary results on haplotype-resolved genome assemblies of faux (proof-of-concept) and real data.

June 1, 2021  |  

Haplotyping of full-length transcript reads from long-read sequencing can reveal allelic imbalances in isoform expression

The Pacific Biosciences Iso-Seq method, which can produce high-quality isoform sequences of 10 kb and longer, has been used to annotate many important plant and animal genomes. Here, we develop an algorithm called IsoPhase that postprocesses Iso-Seq data to retrieve allele specific isoform information. Using simulated data, we show that for both diploid and tetraploid genomes, IsoPhase results in good SNP recovery with low FDR at error rates consistent with CCS reads. We apply IsoPhase to a haplotyperesolved genome assembly and multiple fetal tissue Iso-Seq dataset from a F1 cross of Angus x Brahman cattle subspecies. IsoPhase-called haplotypes were validated by the phased assembly and demonstrate the potential for revealing allelic imbalances in isoform expression.

April 21, 2020  |  

Extended haplotype phasing of de novo genome assemblies with FALCON-Phase

Haplotype-resolved genome assemblies are important for understanding how combinations of variants impact phenotypes. These assemblies can be created in various ways, such as use of tissues that contain single-haplotype (haploid) genomes, or by co-sequencing of parental genomes, but these approaches can be impractical in many situations. We present FALCON-Phase, which integrates long-read sequencing data and ultra-long-range Hi-C chromatin interaction data of a diploid individual to create high-quality, phased diploid genome assemblies. The method was evaluated by application to three datasets, including human, cattle, and zebra finch, for which high-quality, fully haplotype resolved assemblies were available for benchmarking. Phasing algorithm accuracy was affected by heterozygosity of the individual sequenced, with higher accuracy for cattle and zebra finch (>97%) compared to human (82%). In addition, scaffolding with the same Hi-C chromatin contact data resulted in phased chromosome-scale scaffolds.

April 21, 2020  |  

Long-Read Sequencing Emerging in Medical Genetics

The wide implementation of next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies has revolutionized the field of medical genetics. However, the short read lengths of currently used sequencing approaches pose a limitation for identification of structural variants, sequencing repetitive regions, phasing alleles and distinguishing highly homologous genomic regions. These limitations may significantly contribute to the diagnostic gap in patients with genetic disorders who have undergone standard NGS, like whole exome or even genome sequencing. Now, the emerging long-read sequencing (LRS) technologies may offer improvements in the characterization of genetic variation and regions that are difficult to assess with the currently prevailing NGS approaches. LRS has so far mainly been used to investigate genetic disorders with previously known or strongly suspected disease loci. While these targeted approaches already show the potential of LRS, it remains to be seen whether LRS technologies can soon enable true whole genome sequencing routinely. Ultimately, this could allow the de novo assembly of individual whole genomes used as a generic test for genetic disorders. In this article, we summarize the current LRS-based research on human genetic disorders and discuss the potential of these technologies to facilitate the next major advancements in medical genetics.

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