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Open Access Methodology article

LTC: a novel algorithm to improve the efficiency of contig assembly for physical mapping in complex genomes

Zeev Frenkel1*, Etienne Paux2, David Mester1, Catherine Feuillet2 and Abraham Korol1

Author Affiliations

1 University of Haifa, Institute of Evolution, Haifa 31905, Israel

2 INRA, Genetics, Diversity and Ecophysiology of Cereals, Clermont-Ferrand, France

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BMC Bioinformatics 2010, 11:584  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-11-584

Published: 30 November 2010

Abstract

Background

Physical maps are the substrate of genome sequencing and map-based cloning and their construction relies on the accurate assembly of BAC clones into large contigs that are then anchored to genetic maps with molecular markers. High Information Content Fingerprinting has become the method of choice for large and repetitive genomes such as those of maize, barley, and wheat. However, the high level of repeated DNA present in these genomes requires the application of very stringent criteria to ensure a reliable assembly with the FingerPrinted Contig (FPC) software, which often results in short contig lengths (of 3-5 clones before merging) as well as an unreliable assembly in some difficult regions. Difficulties can originate from a non-linear topological structure of clone overlaps, low power of clone ordering algorithms, and the absence of tools to identify sources of gaps in Minimal Tiling Paths (MTPs).

Results

To address these problems, we propose a novel approach that: (i) reduces the rate of false connections and Q-clones by using a new cutoff calculation method; (ii) obtains reliable clusters robust to the exclusion of single clone or clone overlap; (iii) explores the topological contig structure by considering contigs as networks of clones connected by significant overlaps; (iv) performs iterative clone clustering combined with ordering and order verification using re-sampling methods; and (v) uses global optimization methods for clone ordering and Band Map construction. The elements of this new analytical framework called Linear Topological Contig (LTC) were applied on datasets used previously for the construction of the physical map of wheat chromosome 3B with FPC. The performance of LTC vs. FPC was compared also on the simulated BAC libraries based on the known genome sequences for chromosome 1 of rice and chromosome 1 of maize.

Conclusions

The results show that compared to other methods, LTC enables the construction of highly reliable and longer contigs (5-12 clones before merging), the detection of "weak" connections in contigs and their "repair", and the elongation of contigs obtained by other assembly methods.