Comparative analysis of algorithms for whole-genome assembly of pyrosequencing data

Francesca Finotello, Enrico Lavezzo, Paolo Fontana, Denis Peruzzo, Alessandro Albiero, Luisa Barzon, Marco Falda, Barbara Di Camillo, Stefano Toppo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Next-generation sequencing technologies have fostered an unprecedented proliferation of high-throughput sequencing projects and a concomitant development of novel algorithms for the assembly of short reads. In this context, an important issue is the need of a careful assessment of the accuracy of the assembly process. Here, we review the efficiency of a panel of assemblers, specifically designed to handle data from GS FLX 454 platform, on three bacterial data sets with different characteristics in terms of reads coverage and repeats content. Our aim is to investigate their strengths and weaknesses in the reconstruction of the reference genomes. In our benchmarking, we assess assemblers' performance, quantifying and characterizing assembly gaps and errors, and evaluating their ability to solve complex genomic regions containing repeats. The final goal of this analysis is to highlight pros and cons of each method, in order to provide the final user with general criteria for the right choice of the appropriate assembly strategy, depending on the specific needs. A further aspect we have explored is the relationship between coverage of a sequencing project and quality of the obtained results. The final outcome suggests that, for a good tradeoff between costs and results, the planned genome coverage of an experiment should not exceed 20-30 ×.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberbbr063
Pages (from-to)269-280
Number of pages12
JournalBriefings in Bioinformatics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2012


  • 454 pyrosequencing
  • Assembly algorithm assessment
  • Bacterial genome
  • Coverage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Information Systems


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