For non-model organisms lacking well-defined genomes, de novo assembly is typically required for downstream RNA-Seq analyses, including SNP discovery and identification of genes differentially expressed by phenotypes. Although RNA-Seq has been successfully used to sequence many non-model organisms, the results of de novo assembly from short reads can still be improved by using recent bioinformatic developments.
In this study, researchers from Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences used 212.6 million pair-end reads, which accounted for 16.2 Gb, to assemble the hexaploid wheat transcriptome. Two state-of-the-art assemblers, Trinity and Trans-ABySS, which use the single and multiple k-mer methods, respectively, were used, and the whole de novo assembly process was divided into the following four steps: pre-assembly, merging different samples, removal of redundancy and scaffolding. They documented every detail of these steps and how these steps influenced assembly performance to gain insight into transcriptome assembly from short reads. After optimization, the assembled transcripts were comparable to Sanger-derived ESTs in terms of both continuity and accuracy. We also provided considerable new wheat transcript data to the community.
- Duan J, Xia C, Zhao G, Jia J, Kong X. (2012) Optimizing de novo common wheat transcriptome assembly using short-read RNA-Seq data. BMC Genomics 13(1), 392. [abstract]