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Open Access Open Badges Technical Note

An efficient annotation and gene-expression derivation tool for Illumina Solexa datasets

Parsa Hosseini12, Arianne Tremblay1, Benjamin F Matthews1 and Nadim W Alkharouf2*

Author Affiliations

1 United States Department of Agriculture, Soybean Genomics and Improvement Laboratory, 10300 Baltimore Ave, Beltsville, MD, 20705, USA

2 Jess and Mildred Fisher College of Science and Mathematics, Department of Computer and Information Sciences, Towson University, 7800 York Road, Towson, Maryland, 21252, USA

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BMC Research Notes 2010, 3:183  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-3-183

Published: 2 July 2010



The data produced by an Illumina flow cell with all eight lanes occupied, produces well over a terabyte worth of images with gigabytes of reads following sequence alignment. The ability to translate such reads into meaningful annotation is therefore of great concern and importance. Very easily, one can get flooded with such a great volume of textual, unannotated data irrespective of read quality or size. CASAVA, a optional analysis tool for Illumina sequencing experiments, enables the ability to understand INDEL detection, SNP information, and allele calling. To not only extract from such analysis, a measure of gene expression in the form of tag-counts, but furthermore to annotate such reads is therefore of significant value.


We developed TASE (Tag counting and Analysis of Solexa Experiments), a rapid tag-counting and annotation software tool specifically designed for Illumina CASAVA sequencing datasets. Developed in Java and deployed using jTDS JDBC driver and a SQL Server backend, TASE provides an extremely fast means of calculating gene expression through tag-counts while annotating sequenced reads with the gene's presumed function, from any given CASAVA-build. Such a build is generated for both DNA and RNA sequencing. Analysis is broken into two distinct components: DNA sequence or read concatenation, followed by tag-counting and annotation. The end result produces output containing the homology-based functional annotation and respective gene expression measure signifying how many times sequenced reads were found within the genomic ranges of functional annotations.


TASE is a powerful tool to facilitate the process of annotating a given Illumina Solexa sequencing dataset. Our results indicate that both homology-based annotation and tag-count analysis are achieved in very efficient times, providing researchers to delve deep in a given CASAVA-build and maximize information extraction from a sequencing dataset. TASE is specially designed to translate sequence data in a CASAVA-build into functional annotations while producing corresponding gene expression measurements. Achieving such analysis is executed in an ultrafast and highly efficient manner, whether the analysis be a single-read or paired-end sequencing experiment. TASE is a user-friendly and freely available application, allowing rapid analysis and annotation of any given Illumina Solexa sequencing dataset with ease.