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Journal: Bioinformatics (Oxford, England)

182

MOTIVATION: A large and rapidly growing number of bacterial organisms have been sequenced by the newest sequencing technologies. Cheaper and faster sequencing technologies make it easy to generate very high coverage of bacterial genomes, but these advances mean that DNA preparation costs can exceed the cost of sequencing for small genomes. The need to contain costs often results in the creation of only a single sequencing library, which in turn introduces new challenges for genome assembly methods. RESULTS: We evaluated the ability of multiple genome assembly programs to assemble bacterial genomes from a single, deep-coverage library. For our comparison, we chose bacterial species spanning a wide range of GC content, and measured the contiguity and accuracy of the resulting assemblies. We compared the assemblies produced by this very-high-coverage, one-library strategy to the best assemblies created by two-library sequencing, and found that remarkably good bacterial assemblies are possible with just one library. We also measured the effect of read length and depth of coverage on assembly quality and determined the values that provide the best results with current algorithms.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Bacteria, Molecular biology, Organism, Genome, Assembly language

176

Metagenomes are often characterized by high levels of unknown sequences. Reads derived from known microorganisms can easily be identified and analyzed using fast homology search algorithms and a suitable reference database, but the unknown sequences are often ignored in further analyses, biasing conclusions. Nevertheless, it is possible to use more data in a comparative metagenomic analysis by creating a cross-assembly of all reads, i.e. a single assembly of reads from different samples. Comparative metagenomics studies the interrelationships between metagenomes from different samples. Using an assembly algorithm is a fast and intuitive way to link (partially) homologous reads without requiring a database of reference sequences.

Concepts: Algorithm, Bioinformatics, Metagenomics, Mathematical analysis, Homology

176

SUMMARY: InterMine is an open-source data warehouse system that facilitates the building of databases with complex data integration requirements and a need for a fast, customisable query facility. Using InterMine, large biological databases can be created from a range of heterogeneous data sources, and the extensible data model allows for easy integration of new data types. The analysis tools include a flexible query builder, genomic region search, and a library of “widgets” performing various statistical analyses. The results can be exported in many commonly used formats. InterMine is a fully extensible framework where developers can add new tools and functionality. Additionally, there is a comprehensive set of web services, for which client libraries are provided in five commonly used programming languages. AVAILABILITY: Freely available from http://www.intermine.org under the LGPL license. CONTACT: g.micklem@gen.cam.ac.uk SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

Concepts: Bioinformatics, Statistics, Model organism, Data, Programming language, Data management, Type system, Biological data

173

MOTIVATION: Since 2011, The Cancer Genome Atlas' (TCGA) files have been accessible through HTTP from a public site, creating entirely new possibilities for cancer informatics by enhancing data discovery and retrieval. Significantly, these enhancements enable the reporting of analysis results that can be fully traced to and reproduced using their source data. However, to realize this possibility, a continually updated road map of files in the TCGA is required. Creation of such a road map represents a significant data modeling challenge, due to the size and fluidity of this resource: each of the 33 cancer types is instantiated in only partially overlapping sets of analytical platforms, while the number of data files available doubles approximately every 7 months. RESULTS: We developed an engine to index and annotate the TCGA files, relying exclusively on third-generation web technologies (Web 3.0). Specifically, this engine uses JavaScript in conjunction with the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Resource Description Framework (RDF), and SPARQL, the query language for RDF, to capture metadata of files in the TCGA open-access HTTP directory. The resulting index may be queried using SPARQL, and enables file-level provenance annotations as well as discovery of arbitrary subsets of files, based on their metadata, using web standard languages. In turn, these abilities enhance the reproducibility and distribution of novel results delivered as elements of a web-based computational ecosystem. The development of the TCGA Roadmap engine was found to provide specific clues about how biomedical big data initiatives should be exposed as public resources for exploratory analysis, data mining and reproducible research. These specific design elements align with the concept of knowledge reengineering and represent a sharp departure from top-down approaches in grid initiatives such as CaBIG. They also present a much more interoperable and reproducible alternative to the still pervasive use of data portals. AVAILABILITY: A prepared dashboard, including links to source code and a SPARQL endpoint, is available at http://bit.ly/TCGARoadmap. A video tutorial is available at http://bit.ly/TCGARoadmapTutorial. CONTACT: robbinsd@uab.edu.

Concepts: Data, World Wide Web, Semantic Web, Web 2.0, Reproducibility, Resource Description Framework, The Cancer Genome Atlas, World Wide Web Consortium

173

Assessing functional associations between an experimentally derived gene or protein set of interest and a database of known gene/protein sets is a common task in the analysis of large-scale functional genomics data. For this purpose, a frequently used approach is to apply an over-representation-based enrichment analysis. However, this approach has four drawbacks: (i) it can only score functional associations of overlapping gene/proteins sets; (ii) it disregards genes with missing annotations; (iii) it does not take into account the network structure of physical interactions between the gene/protein sets of interest and (iv) tissue-specific gene/protein set associations cannot be recognized.

Concepts: Protein, Gene, Genomics

173

The Ensembl Project provides release-specific Perl APIs for efficient high-level programmatic access to data stored in various Ensembl database schema. Although Perl scripts are perfectly suited for processing large volumes of text-based data, Perl is not ideal for developing large-scale software applications nor embedding in graphical interfaces. The provision of a novel Java API would facilitate type-safe, modular, object-orientated development of new Bioinformatics tools with which to access, analyse and visualize Ensembl data.

Concepts: Bioinformatics, Database, Computer program, C, Application programming interface, Graphical user interface, Computer software, Application software

173

With advances in sequencing technology, it has become faster and cheaper to obtain short-read data from which to assemble genomes. Although there has been considerable progress in the field of genome assembly, producing high-quality de novo assemblies from short-reads remains challenging, primarily because of the complex repeat structures found in the genomes of most higher organisms. The telomeric regions of many genomes are particularly difficult to assemble, though much could be gained from the study of these regions, as their evolution has not been fully characterized and they have been linked to aging.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Bacteria, Organism, Virus, Insect, Assembly language

171

We have developed Cake, a bioinformatics software pipeline that integrates four publicly available somatic variant-calling algorithms to identify single nucleotide variants with higher sensitivity and accuracy than any one algorithm alone. Cake can be run on a high-performance computer cluster or used as a standalone application.

Concepts: DNA, Algorithm, Bioinformatics, Computer, Computer program, Computer science, Biostatistics

171

SUMMARY: Two methods to add unaligned sequences into an existing multiple sequence alignment have been implemented as the “–add” and “–addfragments” options in the MAFFT package. The former option is a basic one and applicable only to full-length sequences, while the latter option is applicable even when the unaligned sequences are short and fragmentary. These methods internally infer the phylogenetic relationship among the sequences in the existing alignment, as well as the phylogenetic positions of unaligned sequences. Benchmarks based on two independent simulations consistently suggest that the “–addfragments” option outperforms recent methods, PaPaRa and PAGAN, in accuracy for difficult problems and that these three methods appropriately handle easy problems. AVAILABILITY: http://mafft.cbrc.jp/alignment/software/ CONTACT: katoh@ifrec.osaka-u.ac.jp SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Available at Bioinformatics online.

Concepts: DNA, Bioinformatics, Sequence, Phylogenetic tree, Computational phylogenetics, Sequence alignment, Multiple sequence alignment, Clustal

171

SUMMARY: UniMoG is a software combining five genome rearrangement models: double cut and join (DCJ), restricted DCJ, Hannenhalli and Pevzner (HP), inversion and translocation. It can compute the pairwise genomic distances and a corresponding optimal sorting scenario for an arbitrary number of genomes. All five models can be unified through the DCJ model, thus the implementation is based on DCJ and, where reasonable, uses the most efficient existing algorithms for each distance and sorting problem. Both textual and graphical output is possible for visualizing the operations. Availability and implementation: The software is available through the Bielefeld University Bioinformatics Web Server at http://bibiserv.techfak.uni-bielefeld.de/dcj with instructions and example data. CONTACT: rhilker@cebitec.uni-bielefeld.de.

Concepts: Gene, Genetics, Human Genome Project, Genome, Genomics, Model organism, Computer, Server