One chromosome, one contig: complete microbial genomes from long-read sequencing and assembly

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2015 Feb;23:110-20. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2014.11.014. Epub 2014 Dec 1.


Like a jigsaw puzzle with large pieces, a genome sequenced with long reads is easier to assemble. However, recent sequencing technologies have favored lowering per-base cost at the expense of read length. This has dramatically reduced sequencing cost, but resulted in fragmented assemblies, which negatively affect downstream analyses and hinder the creation of finished (gapless, high-quality) genomes. In contrast, emerging long-read sequencing technologies can now produce reads tens of kilobases in length, enabling the automated finishing of microbial genomes for under $1000. This promises to improve the quality of reference databases and facilitate new studies of chromosomal structure and variation. We present an overview of these new technologies and the methods used to assemble long reads into complete genomes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Chromosomes*
  • Contig Mapping / methods*
  • Contig Mapping / trends
  • Genome, Microbial*
  • Molecular Biology / methods*
  • Molecular Biology / trends
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA / methods*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA / trends