Proteomics as a Metrological Tool to Evaluate Genome Annotation Accuracy Following De Novo Genome Assembly: A Case Study Using the Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)

Genes (Basel). 2023 Aug 25;14(9):1696. doi: 10.3390/genes14091696.


The last decade has witnessed dramatic improvements in whole-genome sequencing capabilities coupled to drastically decreased costs, leading to an inundation of high-quality de novo genomes. For this reason, the continued development of genome quality metrics is imperative. Using the 2016 Atlantic bottlenose dolphin NCBI RefSeq annotation and mass spectrometry-based proteomic analysis of six tissues, we confirmed 10,402 proteins from 4711 protein groups, constituting nearly one-third of the possible predicted proteins. Since the identification of larger proteins with more identified peptides implies reduced database fragmentation and improved gene annotation accuracy, we propose the metric NP10, which attempts to capture this quality improvement. The NP10 metric is calculated by first stratifying proteomic results by identifying the top decile (or 10th 10-quantile) of identified proteins based on the number of peptides per protein and then returns the median molecular weight of the resulting proteins. When using the 2016 versus 2012 Tursiops truncatus genome annotation to search this proteomic data set, there was a 21% improvement in NP10. This metric was further demonstrated by using a publicly available proteomic data set to compare human genome annotations from 2004, 2013 and 2016, which showed a 33% improvement in NP10. These results demonstrate that proteomics may be a useful metrological tool to benchmark genome accuracy, though there is a need for reference proteomic datasets across species to facilitate the evaluation of new de novo and existing genome.

Keywords: de novo genome; genome accuracy; marine mammal; proteomics.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bottle-Nosed Dolphin* / genetics
  • Genome, Human
  • Humans
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Proteins
  • Proteomics*


  • Proteins

Grants and funding

This research was funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, 9999-NIST.