A general coverage theory for shotgun DNA sequencing.

J Comput Biol. 2006 Jul-Aug;13(6):1177-96.


The classical theory of shotgun DNA sequencing accounts for neither the placement dependencies that are a fundamental consequence of the forward-reverse sequencing strategy, nor the edge effect that arises for small to moderate-sized genomic targets. These phenomena are relevant to a number of sequencing scenarios, including large-insert BAC and fosmid clones, filtered genomic libraries, and macro-nuclear chromosomes. Here, we report a model that considers these two effects and provides both the expected value of coverage and its variance. Comparison to methyl-filtered maize data shows significant improvement over classical theory. The model is used to analyze coverage performance over a range of small to moderately-sized genomic targets. We find that the read pairing effect and the edge effect interact in a non-trivial fashion. Shorter reads give superior coverage per unit sequence depth relative to longer ones. In principle, end-sequences can be optimized with respect to template insert length; however, optimal performance is unlikely to be realized in most cases because of inherent size variation in any set of targets. Conversely, single-stranded reads exhibit roughly the same coverage attributes as optimized end-reads. Although linking information is lost, single-stranded data should not pose a significant assembly liability if the target represents predominantly low-copy sequence. We also find that random sequencing should be halted at substantially lower redundancies than those now associated with larger projects. Given the enormous amount of data generated per cycle on pyro-sequencing instruments, this observation suggests devising schemes to split each run cycle between two or more projects. This would prevent over-sequencing and would further leverage the pyrosequencing method.


Wendl MC.

Institute Authors

Michael Wendl, Ph.D.