Trinity RNA-Seq Assembly – software for the reconstruction of full-length transcripts and alternatively spliced isoforms

Trinity, developed at the Broad Institute, represents a novel method for the efficient and robust de novo reconstruction of transcriptomes from RNA-Seq data. Trinity combines three independent software modules: Inchworm, Chrysalis, and Butterfly, applied sequentially to process large volumes of RNA-Seq reads. Trinity partitions the sequence data into many individual de Bruijn graphs, each representing the transcriptional complexity at at a given gene or locus, and then processes each graph independently to extract full-length splicing isoforms and to tease apart transcripts derived from paralogous genes. Briefly, the process works like so:

  • Inchworm assembles the RNA-Seq data into the unique sequences of transcripts, often generating full-length transcripts for a dominant isoform, but then reports just the unique portions of alternatively spliced transcripts.
  • Chrysalis clusters the Inchworm contigs into clusters and constructs complete de Bruijn graphs for each cluster. Each cluster represents the full transcriptonal complexity for a given gene (or sets of genes that share sequences in common). Chrysalis then partitions the full read set among these disjoint graphs.
  • Butterfly then processes the individual graphs in parallel, tracing the paths that reads and pairs of reads take within the graph, ultimately reporting full-length transcripts for alternatively spliced isoforms, and teasing apart transcripts that corresponds to paralogous genes.

The Trinity software package includes each of these tools and can be downloaded here.