Program in Molecular Medicine; Program in Bioinformatics and Integrative Biology
Bioinformatics | Computational Biology | Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | Genomics
New genome assemblies have been arriving at a rapidly increasing pace, thanks to decreases in sequencing costs and improvements in third-generation sequencing technologies(1-3). For example, the number of vertebrate genome assemblies currently in the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) database(4) increased by more than 50% to 1,485 assemblies in the year from July 2018 to July 2019. In addition to this influx of assemblies from different species, new human de novo assemblies(5) are being produced, which enable the analysis of not only small polymorphisms, but also complex, large-scale structural differences between human individuals and haplotypes. This coming era and its unprecedented amount of data offer the opportunity to uncover many insights into genome evolution but also present challenges in how to adapt current analysis methods to meet the increased scale. Cactus(6), a reference-free multiple genome alignment program, has been shown to be highly accurate, but the existing implementation scales poorly with increasing numbers of genomes, and struggles in regions of highly duplicated sequences. Here we describe progressive extensions to Cactus to create Progressive Cactus, which enables the reference-free alignment of tens to thousands of large vertebrate genomes while maintaining high alignment quality. We describe results from an alignment of more than 600 amniote genomes, which is to our knowledge the largest multiple vertebrate genome alignment created so far.
Comparative genomics, Genome informatics, Phylogen, Software
Rights and Permissions
© The Author(s) 2020. Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
DOI of Published Version
Armstrong J, Hickey G, Diekhans M, Fiddes IT, Novak AM, Deran A, Fang Q, Xie D, Feng S, Stiller J, Genereux D, Johnson J, Marinescu VD, Alföldi J, Harris RS, Lindblad-Toh K, Haussler D, Karlsson E, Jarvis ED, Zhang G, Paten B. Progressive Cactus is a multiple-genome aligner for the thousand-genome era. Nature. 2020 Nov;587(7833):246-251. doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2871-y. Epub 2020 Nov 11. PMID: 33177663; PMCID: PMC7673649. Link to article on publisher's site
Armstrong J, Karlsson EK, Zhang G, Paten B. (2020). Progressive Cactus is a multiple-genome aligner for the thousand-genome era. University of Massachusetts Medical School Faculty Publications. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2871-y. Retrieved from https://escholarship.umassmed.edu/faculty_pubs/1905
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.