A critical comparison of technologies for a plant genome sequencing project

Pirita Paajanen, George Kettleborough, Elena Lopez-Girona, Michael Giolai, Darren Heavens, David Baker, Ashleigh Lister, Gail Wilde, Ingo Hein, Iain Macaulay, Glenn J. Bryan, Matthew D. Clark (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)
366 Downloads (Pure)


BACKGROUND: A high-quality genome sequence of any model organism is an essential starting point for genetic and other studies. Older clone-based methods are slow and expensive, whereas faster, cheaper short-read-only assemblies can be incomplete and highly fragmented, which minimizes their usefulness. The last few years have seen the introduction of many new technologies for genome assembly. These new technologies and associated new algorithms are typically benchmarked on microbial genomes or, if they scale appropriately, on larger (e.g., human) genomes. However, plant genomes can be much more repetitive and larger than the human genome, and plant biochemistry often makes obtaining high-quality DNA that is free from contaminants difficult. Reflecting their challenging nature, we observe that plant genome assembly statistics are typically poorer than for vertebrates. RESULTS: Here, we compare Illumina short read, Pacific Biosciences long read, 10x Genomics linked reads, Dovetail Hi-C, and BioNano Genomics optical maps, singly and combined, in producing high-quality long-range genome assemblies of the potato species Solanum verrucosum. We benchmark the assemblies for completeness and accuracy, as well as DNA compute requirements and sequencing costs. CONCLUSIONS: The field of genome sequencing and assembly is reaching maturity, and the differences we observe between assemblies are surprisingly small. We expect that our results will be helpful to other genome projects, and that these datasets will be used in benchmarking by assembly algorithm developers.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbergiy163
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalGiga Science
Issue number3
Early online date9 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2019


  • 10x Genomics
  • PacBio
  • Pacific Biosciences
  • assembly
  • long reads
  • optical mapping
  • short reads

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Science Applications


Dive into the research topics of 'A critical comparison of technologies for a plant genome sequencing project'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this