De novo genome assemblies of butterflies

Gigascience. 2021 Jun 2;10(6):giab041. doi: 10.1093/gigascience/giab041.


Background: The availability of thousands of genomes has enabled new advancements in biology. However, many genomes have not been investigated for their quality. Here we examine quality trends in a taxonomically diverse and well-known group, butterflies (Papilionoidea), and provide draft, de novo assemblies for all available butterfly genomes. Owing to massive genome sequencing investment and taxonomic curation, this is an excellent group to explore genome quality.

Findings: We provide de novo assemblies for all 822 available butterfly genomes and interpret their quality in terms of completeness and continuity. We identify the 50 highest quality genomes across butterflies and conclude that the ringlet, Aphantopus hyperantus, has the highest quality genome. Our post-processing of draft genome assemblies identified 118 butterfly genomes that should not be reused owing to contamination or extremely low quality. However, many draft genomes are of high utility, especially because permissibility of low-quality genomes is dependent on the objective of the study. Our assemblies will serve as a key resource for papilionid genomics, especially for researchers without computational resources.

Conclusions: Quality metrics and assemblies are typically presented with annotated genome accessions but rarely with de novo genomes. We recommend that studies presenting genome sequences provide the assembly and some metrics of quality because quality will significantly affect downstream results. Transparency in quality metrics is needed to improve the field of genome science and encourage data reuse.

Keywords: Papilionoidea; accessibility; genomics; life sciences; open data.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benchmarking
  • Butterflies* / genetics
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Genome
  • Genomics
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA