Informed and Automated k-Mer Size Selection for Genome Assembly

Informed and Automated k-Mer Size Selection for Genome Assembly
Rayan Chikhi, Paul Medvedev
(Submitted on 20 Apr 2013)

Genome assembly tools based on the de Bruijn graph framework rely on a parameter k, which represents a trade-off between several competing effects that are difficult to quantify. There is currently a lack of tools that would automatically estimate the best k to use and/or quickly generate histograms of k-mer abundances that would allow the user to make an informed decision.
We develop a fast and accurate sampling method that constructs approximate abundance histograms with a several orders of magnitude performance improvement over traditional methods. We then present a fast heuristic that uses the generated abundance histograms for putative k values to estimate the best possible value of k. We test the effectiveness of our tool using diverse sequencing datasets and find that its choice of k leads to some of the best assemblies.
Our tool KmerGenie is freely available at: this http URL

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