Assembling Metagenomes, One Community At A Time [article]

Andries Johannes van der Walt, Marc Warwick Van Goethem, Jean-Baptiste Ramond, Thulani Peter Makhalanyane, Oleg Reva, Don Arthur Cowan
2017 bioRxiv   pre-print
Metagenomics allows unprecedented access to uncultured environmental microorganisms. The analysis of metagenomic sequences facilitates gene prediction and annotation, and enables the assembly of draft genomes, including uncultured members of a community. However, while several platforms have been developed for this critical step, there is currently no clear framework for the assembly of metagenomic sequence data. Results: To assist with selection of an appropriate metagenome assembler we
more » ... ed the capabilities of nine prominent assembly tools on nine publicly-available environmental metagenomes, as well as three simulated datasets. Overall, we found that SPAdes provided the largest contigs and highest N50 values across 6 of the 9 environmental datasets, followed by MEGAHIT and metaSPAdes. MEGAHIT emerged as a computationally inexpensive alternative to SPAdes, assembling the most complex dataset using less than 500 GB of RAM and within 10 hours. Conclusions: We found that assembler choice ultimately depends on the scientific question, the available resources and the bioinformatic competence of the researcher. We provide a concise workflow for the selection of the best assembly tool.
doi:10.1101/120154 fatcat:p3ix76gu4zcutnjbmkttn634ou