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Single haplotype assembly of the human genome from a hydatidiform mole

By Karyn Meltz Steinberg, Valerie A Schneider, Tina A Graves-Lindsay, Robert S Fulton, Richa Agarwala, John Huddleston, Sergey A. Shiryev, Aleksandr Morgulis, Urvashi Surti, Wesley C Warren, Deanna M Church, Evan E. Eichler, Richard K Wilson

Posted 03 Jul 2014
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/006841 (published DOI: 10.1101/gr.180893.114)

An accurate and complete reference human genome sequence assembly is essential for accurately interpreting individual genomes and associating sequence variation with disease phenotypes. While the current reference genome sequence is of very high quality, gaps and misassemblies remain due to biological and technical complexities. Large repetitive sequences and complex allelic diversity are the two main drivers of assembly error. Although increasing the length of sequence reads and library fragments can help overcome these problems, even the longest available reads do not resolve all regions of the human genome. In order to overcome the issue of allelic diversity, we used genomic DNA from an essentially haploid hydatidiform mole, CHM1. We utilized several resources from this DNA including a set of end-sequenced and indexed BAC clones, an optical map, and 100X whole genome shotgun (WGS) sequence coverage using short (Illumina) read pairs. We used the WGS sequence and the GRCh37 reference assembly to create a sequence assembly of the CHM1 genome. We subsequently incorporated 382 finished CHORI-17 BAC clone sequences to generate a second draft assembly, CHM1_1.1 (NCBI AssemblyDB GCA_000306695.2). Analysis of gene and repeat content show this assembly to be of excellent quality and contiguity, and comparisons to ClinVar and the NHGRI GWAS catalog show that the CHM1 genome does not harbor an excess of deleterious alleles. However, comparison to assembly-independent resources, such as BAC clone end sequences and long reads generated by a different sequencing technology (PacBio), indicate misassembled regions. The great majority of these regions is enriched for structural variation and segmental duplication, and can be resolved in the future by sequencing BAC clone tiling paths. This publicly available first generation assembly will be integrated into the Genome Reference Consortium (GRC) curation framework for further improvement, with the ultimate goal being a completely finished gap-free assembly.

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