Comparing Memory-Efficient Genome Assemblers on Stand-Alone and Cloud Infrastructures

D. Kleftogiannis, P. Kalnis, V.B. Bajic
PLoS One, 8(9):e75505, (2013)


Bioinformatics, Genome assembly, Next-generation sequencing


​A fundamental problem in bioinformatics is genome assembly. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies produce large volumes of fragmented genome reads, which require large amounts of memory to assemble the complete genome efficiently. With recent improvements in DNA sequencing technologies, it is expected that the memory footprint required for the assembly process will increase dramatically and will emerge as a limiting factor in processing widely available NGS-generated reads. In this report, we compare current memory-efficient techniques for genome assembly with respect to quality, memory consumption and execution time. Our experiments prove that it is possible to generate draft assemblies of reasonable quality on conventional multi-purpose computers with very limited available memory by choosing suitable assembly methods. Our study reveals the minimum memory requirements for different assembly programs even when data volume exceeds memory capacity by orders of magnitude. By combining existing methodologies, we propose two general assembly strategies that can improve short-read assembly approaches and result in reduction of the memory footprint. Finally, we discuss the possibility of utilizing cloud infrastructures for genome assembly and we comment on some findings regarding suitable computational resources for assembly.




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