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Independent assessment and improvement of wheat genome assemblies using Fosill jumping libraries

By Fu-Hao Lu, Neil McKenzie, George Kettleborough, Darren Heavens, Matthew D Clark, Michael Bevan

Posted 14 Nov 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/219352 (published DOI: 10.1093/gigascience/giy053)

The accurate sequencing and assembly of very large, often polyploid, genomes remain a challenging task, limiting long range sequence information and phased sequence variation for applications such as plant breeding. The 15 Gb hexaploid bread wheat genome has been particularly challenging to sequence, and several contending approaches recently generated accurate long range assemblies. Understanding errors in these assemblies is important for optimising future sequencing and assembly approaches and for comparative genomics. Here we use a Fosill 38 Kb jumping library to assess medium and longer range order of different publicly available wheat genome assemblies. Modifications to the Fosill protocol generated longer Illumina sequences and enabled comprehensive genome coverage. Analyses of two independent BAC based chromosome-scale assemblies, two independent Illumina whole genome shotgun assemblies, and a hybrid long read (PacBio) and short read (Illumina) assembly were carried out. We revealed a variety of discrepancies using Fosill mate-pair mapping and validated several of each class. In addition, Fosill mate-pairs were used to scaffold a whole genome Illumina assembly, leading to a three-fold increase in N50 values. Our analyses, using an independent means to validate different wheat genome assemblies, show that whole genome shotgun assemblies are significantly more accurate by all measures compared to BAC-based chromosome scale assemblies. Although current whole genome assemblies are reasonably accurate and useful, additional steps will be needed for the rapid, cost effective and complete sequencing and assembly of wheat genomes.

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