String graph based genome assembly software and tools !

In graph theory, a string graph is an intersection graph of curves in the plane; each curve is called a "string".  String graphs were first proposed by E. W. Myers in a 2005 publication. In recent Genome Research paper describing an innovative approach for assembling large genomes from NGS data caught our attention for several reasons. i) it give different "string graph" prospective of long lasting genome assembly problem ii) the paper is coauthored by Jared Simpson, the developer of ABySS assembler and Richard Durbin. iii) Simpson-Durbin algorithm is that it does not rely on de Bruijn graphs, and instead employs a different graph construction approach called ‘string graph’.

Following are the genome assembly tools based on string graph:

1.SGA (String Graph Assembler)

Assembles large genomes from high coverage short read data. SGA is designed as a modular set of programs, which are used to form an assembly pipeline. SGA implements a set of assembly algorithms based on the FM-index. As the FM-index is a compressed data structure, the algorithms are very memory efficient. The SGA assembly has three distinct phases. The first phase corrects base calling errors in the reads. The second phase assembles contigs from the corrected reads. The third phase uses paired end and/or mate pair data to build scaffolds from the contigs. The output of this software is a PDF report that allows the properties of the genome and data quality to be visually explored. By providing more information to the user at the start of an assembly project, this software will help increase awareness of the factors that make a given assembly easy or difficult, assist in the selection of software and parameters and help to troubleshoot an assembly if it runs into problems.

2. SAGE: String-overlap Assembly of GEnomes

SAGE, for de novo genome assembly. As opposed to most assemblers, which are de Bruijn graph based, SAGE uses the string-overlap graph. SAGE builds upon great existing work on string-overlap graph and maximum likelihood assembly, bringing an important number of new ideas, such as the efficient computation of the transitive reduction of the string overlap graph, the use of (generalized) edge multiplicity statistics for more accurate estimation of read copy counts, and the improved use of mate pairs and min-cost flow for supporting edge merging. The assemblies produced by SAGE for several short and medium-size genomes compared favourably with those of existing leading assemblers.

3. FSG: Fast String Graph

The new integrated assembler has been assessed on a standard benchmark, showing that fast string graph (FSG) is significantly faster than SGA while maintaining a moderate use of main memory, and showing practical advantages in running FSG on multiple threads. Moreover, we have studied the effect of coverage rates on the running times.

4.  BASE

It enhances the classic seed-extension approach by indexing the reads efficiently to generate adaptive seeds that have high probability to appear uniquely in the genome. Such seeds form the basis for BASE to build extension trees and then to use reverse validation to remove the branches based on read coverage and paired-end information, resulting in high-quality consensus sequences of reads sharing the seeds. Such consensus sequences are then extended to contigs. BASE is a practically efficient tool for constructing contig, with significant improvement in quality for long NGS reads. It is relatively easy to extend BASE to include scaffolding.

5. Fermi

Fermi is a de novo assembler with a particular focus on assembling Illumina short sequence reads from a mammal-sized genome. In addition to the role of a typical assembler, fermi also aims to preserve heterozygotes which are often collapsed by other assemblers. Its ultimate goal is to find a minimal set of unitigs to represent all the information in raw reads.

If you want to learn about String Graph assembler, please read the following papers -

i) The Fragment Assembly String Graph - E. W. Myers

This paper describes the String Graph concept.

ii) Efficient construction of an assembly string graph using the FM-index - Jared T. Simpson and Richard Durbin

This earlier paper from Simpson and Durbin

iii) Efficient de novo assembly of large genomes using compressed data structures - Jared T. Simpson and Richard Durbin