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In BMC genomics ; h5-index 78.0

BACKGROUND : Availability of plant genome sequences has led to significant advances. However, with few exceptions, the great majority of existing genome assemblies are derived from short read sequencing technologies with highly uneven read coverages indicative of sequencing and assembly issues that could significantly impact any downstream analysis of plant genomes. In tomato for example, 0.6% (5.1 Mb) and 9.7% (79.6 Mb) of short-read based assembly had significantly higher and lower coverage compared to background, respectively.

RESULTS : To understand what the causes may be for such uneven coverage, we first established machine learning models capable of predicting genomic regions with variable coverages and found that high coverage regions tend to have higher simple sequence repeat and tandem gene densities compared to background regions. To determine if the high coverage regions were misassembled, we examined a recently available tomato long-read based assembly and found that 27.8% (1.41 Mb) of high coverage regions were potentially misassembled of duplicate sequences, compared to 1.4% in background regions. In addition, using a predictive model that can distinguish correctly and incorrectly assembled high coverage regions, we found that misassembled, high coverage regions tend to be flanked by simple sequence repeats, pseudogenes, and transposon elements.

CONCLUSIONS : Our study provides insights on the causes of variable coverage regions and a quantitative assessment of factors contributing to plant genome misassembly when using short reads and the generality of these causes and factors should be tested further in other species.

Wang Peipei, Meng Fanrui, Moore Bethany M, Shiu Shin-Han


Genome misassembly, Machine learning, Read coverage, Solanum lycopersicum