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. 2012 Apr 19;13 Suppl 6(Suppl 6):S1.
doi: 10.1186/1471-2105-13-S6-S1.

Exploiting Sparseness in De Novo Genome Assembly

Free PMC article

Exploiting Sparseness in De Novo Genome Assembly

Chengxi Ye et al. BMC Bioinformatics. .
Free PMC article


Background: The very large memory requirements for the construction of assembly graphs for de novo genome assembly limit current algorithms to super-computing environments.

Methods: In this paper, we demonstrate that constructing a sparse assembly graph which stores only a small fraction of the observed k-mers as nodes and the links between these nodes allows the de novo assembly of even moderately-sized genomes (~500 M) on a typical laptop computer.

Results: We implement this sparse graph concept in a proof-of-principle software package, SparseAssembler, utilizing a new sparse k-mer graph structure evolved from the de Bruijn graph. We test our SparseAssembler with both simulated and real data, achieving ~90% memory savings and retaining high assembly accuracy, without sacrificing speed in comparison to existing de novo assemblers.


Figure 1
Figure 1
From overlap graph to a string graph. (a) an overlap graph, in which all the overlaps are recorded. (b) the string graph, transitive overlap (a, c) is removed.
Figure 2
Figure 2
A node with branches in the de Bruijn graph and the sparse k-mer graph. (a) A node with branches in a de Bruijn graph. (b) The binary implementation of (a). (c) A node with branches in a sparse k-mer graph. (d) The binary implementation of (c). The k-mers which are nodes in the graph are squared in the blocks. Neighbouring nucleotides indicating the edges of the graph are circled.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Breadth-first search bubble removal in the sparse k-mer graph. Removing unwanted structures in the sparse de Bruijn graph. (a) Before removal. (b) After removal.

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