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Authors: Fungtammasan, Arkarachai and Hannigan, Brett

Long read sequencing technology has allowed researchers to create de novo assemblies with impressive continuity[1,2]. This advancement has dramatically increased the number of reference genomes available and hints at the possibility of a future where personal genomes are assembled rather than resequenced. In 2016 Pacific Biosciences released the FALCON-Unzip framework, which can provide long, phased haplotype contigs from de novo assemblies. This phased genome algorithm enhances the accuracy of highly heterozygous organisms and allows researchers to explore questions that require haplotype information such as allele-specific expression and regulation. However, validation of this technique has been limited to small genomes or inbred individuals[3]. As a roadmap to personal genome assembly and phasing, we assess the phasing accuracy of FALCON-Unzip in humans using publicly available data for the Ashkenazi trio from the Genome in a Bottle Consortium[4]. To assess the accuracy of the Unzip algorithm, we assembled the genome of the son using FALCON and FALCON Unzip, genotyped publicly available short read data for the mother and the father, and observed the inheritance pattern of the parental SNPs along the phased genome of the son. We found that 72.8% of haplotype contigs share SNPs with only one parent suggesting that these contigs are correctly phased. Most mis-phased SNPs are random but present in high frequency toward the end of haplotype contigs. Approximately 20.7% of mis-phased haplotype contigs contain clusters of mis-phased SNPs, suggesting that haplotypes were mis-joined by FALCON-Unzip. Mis-joined boundaries in those contigs are located in areas of low SNP density. This research demonstrates that the FALCON-Unzip algorithm can be used to create long and accurate haplotypes for humans and identifies problematic regions that could benefit in future improvement.

Journal: BioRxiv
DOI: 10.1101/262196
Year: 2018

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