Sequence assembly using next generation sequencing data--challenges and solutions

Sci China Life Sci. 2014 Nov;57(11):1140-8. doi: 10.1007/s11427-014-4752-9. Epub 2014 Oct 17.


Sequence assembling is an important step for bioinformatics study. With the help of next generation sequencing (NGS) technology, high throughput DNA fragment (reads) can be randomly sampled from DNA or RNA molecular sequence. However, as the positions of reads being sampled are unknown, assembling process is required for combining overlapped reads to reconstruct the original DNA or RNA sequence. Compared with traditional Sanger sequencing methods, although the throughput of NGS reads increases, the read length is shorter and the error rate is higher. It introduces several problems in assembling. Moreover, paired-end reads instead of single-end reads can be sampled which contain more information. The existing assemblers cannot fully utilize this information and fails to assemble longer contigs. In this article, we will revisit the major problems of assembling NGS reads on genomic, transcriptomic, metagenomic and metatranscriptomic data. We will also describe our IDBA package for solving these problems. IDBA package has adopted several novel ideas in assembling, including using multiple k, local assembling and progressive depth removal. Compared with existence assemblers, IDBA has better performance on many simulated and real sequencing datasets.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Computational Biology / methods*
  • Contig Mapping / methods
  • DNA / chemistry*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Genome
  • Genome, Bacterial
  • Humans
  • Lactobacillus plantarum / genetics
  • Metagenomics
  • RNA / chemistry*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA / methods*
  • Software
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Transcriptome


  • RNA
  • DNA