Genome sequencing has become routine, however genome assembly still remains a challenge despite the computational advances in the last decade. In particular, the abundance of repeat elements in genomes makes it difficult to assemble them into a single complete sequence. Identical repeats shorter than the average read length can generally be assembled without issue. However, longer repeats such as ribosomal RNA operons cannot be accurately assembled using existing tools. The application Scaffold_builder was designed to generate scaffolds - super contigs of sequences joined by N-bases - based on the similarity to a closely related reference sequence. This is independent of mate-pair information and can be used complementarily for genome assembly, e.g. when mate-pairs are not available or have already been exploited. Scaffold_builder was evaluated using simulated pyrosequencing reads of the bacterial genomes Escherichia coli 042, Lactobacillus salivarius UCC118 and Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Typhi str. P-stx-12. Moreover, we sequenced two genomes from Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium LT2 G455 and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium SDT1291 and show that Scaffold_builder decreases the number of contig sequences by 53% while more than doubling their average length. Scaffold_builder is written in Python and is available at http://edwards.sdsu.edu/scaffold_builder. A web-based implementation is additionally provided to allow users to submit a reference genome and a set of contigs to be scaffolded.
Journal: Source code for biology and medicine