Finishing Toolbox

The process of finishing a genome and moving it from a draft stage (the result of sequencing and initial assembly) to a complete genome is typically a time and resource intensive task. The advent of new sequencing technologies has come with its own set of opportunities and pitfalls in the finishing process. While genomes can now be sequenced to high redundancy in a cost-effective manner, the process of assembling the genomes is more challenging and often draft genomes are fragmented into hundreds of contigs. Correspondingly, the task of producing the complete genome can involve months of lab work and thousands of finishing experiments and is usually done in large genome centers.

The work in our lab has focussed on computational approaches to speed-up the finishing process. Specifically, we have explored the use of optical mapping and mate-pair data to augment assemblies and direct finishing experiments. The tools developed in our lab have been used in several finishing projects, producing complete genomes (and near-complete ones) with surprisingly little computational and experimental effort (Nagarajan et al., in submission). The executables (as well as source code) for these tools are freely available here:

  • Scaffolding using Optical Restriction Mapping
    Optical Maps are global, ordered maps of restriction site locations in a genome. This information can be quite useful in scaffolding contigs from a shotgun assembly to guide the finishing process. A set of programs to exploit optical maps for assembly can be found here: SOMA v2.0 (63 MB tar.gz file). This version of SOMA contains several improvements to programs in v1.0 as well as new scripts for working with multiple maps, contig graphs and scaffolds.

  • Augmenting assemblies with mate-pair data
    Mate-pair information can be valuable in augmenting short-read assemblies and reconstructing the genome as larger scaffolds. AMOS-Hybrid is a pipeline written in the AMOS framework (open-source assembly tools) to merge arbitrary mated reads into an existing assembly and merge contigs and create scaffolds where possible. Source code and executables for AMOS-Hybrid are available here: AMOS-Hybrid v1.0 (142 MB tar.gz file).

  • Assembly and sequence-composition guided finishing
    Contigs from a shotgun assembly are typically linked together in a graph structure that can serve to guide finishing and in some case close gaps in-silico. Also, in many cases, sequence composition of contigs can provide clues to fill gaps in scaffolds. A set of scripts to automate some of these tasks can be found here: Finishing Scripts v1.0 (63 MB tar.gz file).

This work is supported by NSF grant IIS-0812111 and DoD grant IB06RSQ002. For questions and comments contact: niranjan at